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THE ALDINE EDITION 

t 

OF THE BRITISH 
POETS 



THE POEMS OF KIRKE WHITE 




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THE POETICAL WORKS OF 
HENRY KIRKE WHITE 



A.LDI 




LONDON 

WILLIAM PICKERING 

1840 






CHISWICK : 
PRINTED BY C. WHITTINGHA31. 




TO PETER SMITH, ESQ. 



THIS VOLUME IS INSCRIBED IN TESTIMONY OF 



ESTEEM AND FRIENDSHIP. 




CONTENTS. 



Page 

Memoir of Henry Kirke White ix 

MISCELLANEOUS POEMS. 

Clifton Grove 1 

Time 19 

Childhood; Part 1 41 

Part II 47 

The Christiad 56 

Lines written on a Survey of the Heavens 71 

Lines supposed to be spoken by a Lover at the Grave 

of his Mistress 73 

My Study 75 

Description of a Summer's Eve 79 

-Lines — "Go to the raging sea, and say, 'Be still !'"... 81 

Written in the Prospect of Death 83 

Verses — " When pride and envy, and the scorn" 85 

Fragment — " Oh ! thou most fatal of Pandora's train " 86 
" Loud rage the winds without. — The win- 
try cloud" 87 

To a Friend in Distress. .. .<.... 88 

Christmas Day 90 

Nelsoni Mors 92 

Epigram on Robert Bloomfield 94 

Elegy occasioned by the Death of Mr. Gill, who was 

drowned in the River Trent, while bathing 94 

Inscription for a Monument to the Memory of Cowper 95 

'I'm pleased, and yet I'm sad" 96 



IV CONTENTS. 

Page 

Solitude 98 

" If far from me the Fates remove" 99 

" Fanny ! upon thy breast I may not lie ! " 99 

Fragments — " Saw'st thou that light? exclaim'd the 

youth, and paused:" 100 

" The pious man" 101 

" Lo ! on the eastern summit, clad in gray " 101 
" There was a little bird upon that pile;".... 101 

" O pale art thou, my lamp, and faint" 102 

" O give me music — for my soul doth faint;" 103 

" And must thou go, and must we part" 103 

" Ah ! who can say, however fair his view," 104 
" Hush'd is the lyre — the hand that swept" 104 
" When high romance o'er every wood and 

stream" 105 

" Once more, and yet once more," 105 

Fragment of an Eccentric Drama 106 

To a Friend 112 

Lines on reading the Poems of War ton 114 

Fragment — " The western gale," 115 

Commencement of a Poem on Despair 118 

The Eve of Death 120 

Thanatos 121 

Athanatos « 123 

Music 124 

On being confined to School one pleasant Morning in 

Spring 126 

To Contemplation 127 

My own Character 130 

Lines written in Wilford Churchyard 1 32 

Verses — " Thou base repiner at another's joy/' 135 

Lines — " Yes, my stray steps have wander'd, wander'd 

far" 136 

The Prostitute 139 



CONTENTS. 



ODES. 

Page 

To my Lyre 141 

To an Early Primrose 143 

Ode, addressed to H. Fuseli, Esq. R.A 144 

To the Earl of Carlisle, K.G 147 

To Contemplation 150 

To the Genius of Romance 156 

To Midnight 157 

To Thought 158 

Genius 160 

Fragment of an Ode to the Moon 163 

To the Muse , 165 

To Love ' 166 

On Whit-Monday 167 

To the Wind, at Midnight 169 

To the Harvest Moon 169 

To the Herb Rosemary 172 

To the Morning 173 

On Disappointment 176 

On the Death of Dermody the Poet 179 

SONNETS. 

To the River Trent 181 

Sonnet — " Give me a cottage on some Cambrian wild," 181 
Sonnet supposed to have been addressed by a female 

Lunatic to a Lady 182 

Sonnet supposed to be written by the unhappy Poet 

Dermody in a Storm 183 

The Winter Traveller 183 

Sonnet — u Ye whose aspirings court the muse of lays," 184 
Recantatory, in Reply to the foregoing elegant Admo- 
nition 185 

On hearing the Sounds of an iEolian Harp 186 

Sonnet — " What art thou, Mighty One ! and where thy 
seat?" 186 



VI CONTENTS. 

Page 

To Capel Lofft, Esq 187 

To the Moon 188 

Written at the Grave of a Friend , 188 

To Misfortune 189 

Sonnet — " As thus oppress'd with many a heavy care," 190 

To April 190 

Sonnet — " Ye unseen spirits, whose wild melodies,"... 191 

To a Taper 192 

To my Mother 192 

Sonnet — "Yes, 'twill be over soon. This sickly dream" 193 

To Consumption 193 

Sonnet — " Thy judgments, Lord, are just;" 194 

Sonnet — " When I sit musing on the chequer'd past " . 195 
Sonnet — " Sweet to the gay of heart is Summer's smile " 19-5 
Sonnet — u Quick o'er the wintry waste dart fiery shafts" 1 96 

BALLADS, SONGS, AND HYMNS. 

Gondoline 197 

A Ballad — '* Be hush'd, be hush'd, ye bitter winds,"... 209 
The Lullaby of a Female Convict to her Child, the 

Night previous to Execution 210 

The Savoyard's Return 211 

A Pastoral Song 212 

Melody — " Yes, once more that dying strain" 213 

Additional Stanza to a Song by Waller 214 

The Wandering boy 215 

Canzonet — " Maiden ! wrap thy mantle round thee"... 216 

Song — "Softly, softly blow, ye breezes," 217 

The Shipwrecked Solitary's Song to the Night 219 

The Wonderful Juggler 221 

Hymn — " Awake, sweet harp of Judah, wake" 224 

A Hymn for Family Worship 825 

The Star of Bethlehem 226 

Hymn — " O Lord, my God, in mercy turn" 227 



CONTENTS. 



TRIBUTARY VERSES. 

Page 

Eulogy on Henry Kirke White, by Lord Byron 229 

Sonnet on Henry Kirke White, by Capel Lofft 230 

Sonnet occasioned by the Second of H. K. White, by 

the same 231 

Written in the Homer of Mr. H. K. White, by the same 232 
To the Memory of H. K. White, by the Rev. W. B. 

Collyer, A.M 233 

Sonnet to H. K. White, on his Poems, by Arthur Owen, 

Esq 235 

Sonnet, on seeing another written to H. K. White, by 

the same 236 

Reflections on Reading the Life of the late H. K. White, 

by William Holloway 237 

On the Death of Henry Kirke White, by T. Park 239 

Lines on the Death of Henry Kirke White, by the Rev. 

J. Plumptre 239 

To Henry Kirke White, by H. Welker 240 

Verses occasioned by the Death of H. K. White, by 

Josiah Conder 241 

On Reading H. K. White's Poem on Solitude, by the 

same 243 

Ode on the late Henry Kirke White, by Juvenis 244 

Sonnet in Memory of Henry Kirke White, by J. G. ... 245 

Lines on the Death of Henry Kirke W^hite 246 

Sonnet to H. K. White, on his Poems, by G.L. C. ...... 24? 

To the Memory of Henry Kirke White, by a Lady .... 248 

Stanzas supposed to have been written at the Grave of 

Henry Kirke White, by a Lady 251 



MEMOIR OF HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 



BY SIR HARRIS NICOLAS. 



Thine, Henry, is a deathless name on earth, 

Thine amaranthine wreaths, new pluck'd in Heaven ! 

By what aspiring child of mortal birth 

Could more he ask'd, to whom might more be given? 

TOWNSEND. 



It has been said that the contrasts of light and 
shade are as necessary to biography as to painting? 
and that the character which is radiant with genius 
and virtue requires to be relieved by more common 
and opposite qualities. Though this may be true 
as a principle, there are many exceptions ; and the 
life of Henry Kirke White, whose merits were 
unalloyed by a single vice, is one of the most me- 
morable. The history of his short and melancholy 
career, by Mr. Southey, is extremely popular ; and 
when it is remembered that its author is one of the 
most distinguished of living writers, that as a bio- 
grapher he is unrivalled, and that he had access to 
all the materials which exist, it would be as vain to 

b. 



X MEMOIR OF KIRKE WHITE. 

expect from the present Memoir any new facts, as 
it would be absurd to hope that it will be more 
worthy of attention than the imperishable monu- 
ment which his generous friend has erected to his 
memory. 

There is, however, nothing inconsistent with this 
admission, in presuming that a Life of the Poet 
might be written almost as interesting as the one 
alluded to, and without the writer assuming to him- 
self any unusual sagacity. As Mr. South ey's nar- 
rative is prefixed to a collection of all Kirke White's 
remains, in prose as well as in verse, his letters are 
inserted as part of his works, instead of extracts 
from them being introduced into the Memoir. This 
volume will, on the contrary, be confined to his 
Poems ; and such parts of his letters as describe 
his situation and feelings at particular periods will 
be introduced into the account of his life. In- 
deed, so frequent are the allusions to himself in 
those letters as well as in his poems, that he may 
be almost considered an autobiographer ; and the 
writer who substitutes his own cold and lifeless 
sketch for the glowing and animated portrait which 
these memorials of genius afford, must either be 
deficient in skill, or be under the dominion of over- 
weening vanity. 

Few who have risen to eminence were, on the 
paternal side at least, of humbler origin than 
Henry Kirke White. His father, John White, 
was a butcher at Nottingham ; but his mother, who 



MEMOIR OF KIRKE WHITE. XI 

bore the illustrious name of Neville, is said to have 
belonged to a respectable family in Staffordshire. 
He was born at Nottingham on the 21st of March, 
1785 ; and in his earliest years indications were ob- 
served of the genius for which he was afterwards 
distinguished. In his poem " Childhood," he has 
graphically described the little school where, be- 
tween the age of three and five, he 

«' enter'd, though with toil and pain, 
The low vestibule of learning's fane." 

The venerable dame by whom he was 
* inured to alphabetic toils/' 

and whose worth he gratefully commemorates, had 
the discernment to perceive her charge's talents, 
and even foretold his future celebrity : 

" And, as she gave my diligence its praise, 
Taik'd of the honours of my future days." 

If he did not deceive himself, it was at this period 
that his imagination became susceptible of poetic 
associations. Speaking of the eagerness with 
which he left the usual sports of children to listen 
to tales of imaginary woe, and of the effect which 
they produced, he says, 

" Beloved moment ! then 'twas first I caught 

The first foundation of romantic thought ; 

Then first I shed bold Fancy's thrilling tear, 

Then first that Poesy charm'd mine infant ear. 

Soon stored with much of legendary lore, 

The sports of childhood charm'd my soul no more ; 



Xll MEMOIR OF KIRKE WHITE. 

Far from the scene of gaiety and noise, 

Far, far from turbulent and empty joys, 

I hied me to the thick o'erarching shade, 

And there, on mossy carpet, listless laid; 

While at my feet the rippling runnel ran, 

The days of wild romance antique I'd scan; 

Soar on the wings of fancy through the air, 

To realms of light, and pierce the radiance there." 

The peculiar disposition of his mind, having thus 
early displayed itself, every day added to its force. 
Study and abstraction were his greatest pleasures, 
and a love of reading became his predominant pas- 
sion. " I could fancy," said his eldest sister, " I 
see him in his little chair with a large book upon 
his knee, and my mother calling, ' Henry, my love, 
come to dinner,' which was repeated so often with- 
out being regarded, that she was obliged to change 
the tone of her voice before she could rouse him/' 

At the age of six he was placed under the care 
of the Rev. John Blanchard, who kept the best 
school in Nottingham, where he learnt writing, 
arithmetic, and French ; and he continued there for 
several years. During that time two facts are 
related of him which prove the precocity of his 
talents. When about seven, he was accustomed to 
go secretly into his father's kitchen and teach the 
servant to read and write ; and he composed a tale 
of a Swiss emigrant, which he gave her, being too 
diffident to show it to his mother. In his eleventh 
year he wrote a separate theme for each of the 
twelve or fourteen boys in his class ; and the excel- 



MEMOIR OF KIRKE WHITE. Xlll 

lence of the various pieces obtained his master's 
applause. 

Henry was destined for his father's trade, and 
the efforts of his mother to change that intention 
were for some time fruitless. Even while he was 
at school, one day in every week, and his leisure 
hours on the others, were employed in carrying 
meat to his father's customers ; but a dispute between 
his father and his master having caused him to be 
removed from school, one of the ushers, from 
malice or ignorance, told his mother that it was 
impossible to make her son do any thing. The 
person who reported so unfavourably of his abili- 
ties, little knew that he had then given ample 
evidence of his talents, in some poetical satires 
which his treatment at school had provoked, but 
which he afterwards destroyed. 

Soon after he quitted Mr. Blanchard's school he 
was intrusted to Mr. Shipley, who discovered his 
pupil's abilities, and relieved his friends' uneasiness 
on the subject. His earliest production that has 
been preserved was written in his thirteenth year, 
" On being confined to School one pleasant Morn- 
ing in Spring," in which a schoolboy's love of liberty, 
and his envy of the freedom of a neighbouring 
wren, are expressed with plaintive simplicity. 

About this time a slight improvement took place 
in his situation. His mother, to whom he was in- 
debted for all the happiness of his childhood, opened 
a day school, and, as it abstracted her from the 



XIV MEMOIR OF KIRKE WHITE. 

groveling cares of a butcher's shop, his home was 
made much more comfortable ; and, instead of being 
confined to his father's business, he was placed in a 
stocking loom, with the view of bringing him up to 
the trade of a hosier, the poverty of his family still 
precluding the hope of a profession. 

It may easily be believed that this occupation ill 
agreed w r ith the aspirations of his mind. From his 
mother he had few secrets, and in her ear he 
breathed his disgust and unhappiness. " He could 
not bear," he said, " the idea of spending some 
years of his life in shining and folding up stock- 
ings ;" he wanted " something to occupy his brain, 
and he should be wretched if he continued longer 
at this trade, or indeed in any thing, except one 
of the learned professions." For a year these 
remonstrances were ineffectual ; but no persuasions, 
even when urged with maternal tenderness, could 
reconcile him to his lot. He sought for conso- 
lation with the Muses, and wrote an " Address 
to Contemplation," in which he describes his feel- 



" Why along 
The dusky track of commerce should I toil, 
When, with an easy competence content, 
I can alone be happy ; where, with thee, 
I may enjoy the loveliness of Nature, 
And loose the wings of fancy ! Thus alone 
Can I partake of happiness on earth; 
And to be happy here is man's chief end, 
For to be happy he must needs be good." 



MEMOIR OF KIRKE WHITE. XV 

There are few obstacles that perseverance will 
not overcome ; and penury and a parent's obstinacy- 
were both surmounted by Kirke White's impor- 
tunity. Finding it useless to chain him longer to the 
hosier's loom, he was placed in the office of Messrs. 
Coldham and Enfield, Town Clerk and attorneys of 
Nottingham, sometime in May, 1799, when he was 
in his fifteenth year; but as a premium could not be 
given with him, it was agreed that he should serve 
two years before he was articled. A few months 
after he entered upon his new employment, he be- 
gan a correspondence with his brother, Mr. Ne- 
ville White, who was then a medical student in 
London ; and in a letter dated in September, 1799, 
he thus spoke of his situation and prospects : 

" It is now nearly four months since I entered 
into Mr. Coldham's office ; and it is with pleasure 
I can assure you, that I never yet found any thing 
disagreeable, but, on the contrary, every thing I 
do seems a pleasure to me, and for a very obvious 
reason, — it is a business which I like —a business 
which I chose before all others ; and I have two 
good-tempered, easy masters, but who will, never- 
theless, see that their business is done in a neat 
and proper manner*" — " A man that understands 
the law is sure to have business ; and in case I 
have no thoughts, in case, that is, that I do not 
aspire to hold the honourable place of a barrister, 
I shall feel sure of gaining a genteel livelihood at 
the business to which I am articled." 



XVI MEMOIR OF KIRKE WHITE. 

At the suggestion of his employers, he devoted 
the greater part of his leisure to Latin ; and, though 
he was but slightly assisted, he was able in ten 
months to read Horace with tolerable facility, and 
had made some progress in Greek. Having but 
little time for these pursuits, he accustomed himself 
to decline the Greek nouns and verbs during his 
walks to and from the office, and he thereby ac- 
quired a habit of studying while walking, that never 
deserted him. The account which Mr. Southey 
has given of his application, and of the success that 
attended it, is astonishing. Though living with his 
family, he nearly estranged himself from their 
society. At meals, and during the evenings, a 
book was constantly in his hands ; and as he re- 
fused to sup with them, to prevent any loss of 
time, his meal was sent to him in his little apart- 
ment. Law, Greek, Latin, Italian, Spanish, and 
Portuguese, chemistry, astronomy, electricity, draw- 
ing, music, and mechanics, by turns engaged his 
attention ; and though his acquirements in some of 
those studies were very superficial, his proficiency 
in many of them was far from contemptible. His 
papers on law evince so much industry, that had 
that subject alone occupied his leisure hours, his 
diligence would have been commendable. He was 
a tolerable Italian scholar, and in the classics he 
afterwards attained reputation ; but of the sciences 
and of Spanish and Portuguese, his knowledge was 
not, it may be inferred, very great. His ear for 



MEMOIR OF KIRKE WHITE. XV11 

music was good, and his passionate attachment to 
it is placed beyond a doubt by his verses on its 
effects : 

" With her in pensive mood I long to roam 
At midnight's hour, or evening's calm decline, 
And thoughtful o'er the falling streamlet's foam 
In calm Seclusion's hermit-walks recline :" 

But he checked his ardour, lest it might interfere 
with more essential studies ; and his musical at- 
tainments were limited to playing pleasingly on the 
piano, composing the bass to the air at the same 
time. 

Ambition was one of the most powerful feelings 
of his nature, and it is rare indeed, when it is not 
the companion of great talents. It developed itself 
first in spurning trade ; and no sooner did he find 
himself likely to become an attorney, than he as- 
pired to the bar. But his earliest and strongest 
passion was for literary distinction ; and he was 
scarcely removed from the trammels of school, be- 
fore he sought admission into a literary society, in 
his native town. His extreme youth rendered him 
objectionable ; but, after repeated refusals, he at last 
succeeded. In the association there were six pro- 
fessors, and being, on the first vacancy, appointed 
to the chair of literature, he soon justified the 
choice. Taking " genius " as his theme, he ad- 
dressed the assembly in an extemporaneous lecture 
of two hours and three-quarters duration, with so 
much success, that the audience unanimously voted 



XV111 MEMOIR OF KIRKE WHITE. 

him their thanks, declaring that " the society had 
never heard a better lecture delivered from the 
chair which he so much honoured." To judge 
properly of this circumstance, it would be necessary 
to know of whom the society was composed; but 
with so flattering a testimony to his abilities, the 
sanguine boy naturally placed a high estimate on 
his abilities. 

The establishment of a Magazine called the 
Monthly Preceptor, which proposed prize themes 
for young persons, afforded Kirke White an oppor- 
tunity of trying his literary powers. In a letter 
written in June, 1800, to his brother, speaking of 
that work he says, " I am noticed as worthy of 
commendation, and as affording an encouraging 
prospect of future excellence. You will laugh. I 
have also turned poet, and have translated an Ode 
of Horace into English verse." His productions 
gained him several of the prizes ; and he soon after- 
wards became a contributor to the Monthly Mirror, 
his compositions in which attracted the attention 
of Mr. Hill, the proprietor of the work, and of 
Mr. Capel Lofft, a gentleman who distinguished 
himself by his patronage of Bloomfield. 

Though on entering an attorney's office the bar 
was the object of his hopes, a constitutional deaf- 
ness soon convinced him that he was not adapted 
for the duties of an advocate ; and his thoughts, 
from conscientious motives, became directed to the 
Church. 



MEMOIR OF KIRKE WHITE. XIX 

When about fifteen, his mind was agitated by 
doubt and anxiety on the most important of all 
subjects ; and the chaos of opinions which exten- 
sive and miscellaneous reading so often produces 
on ardent and imaginative temperaments, are well 
described in his little poem entitled, " My own 
Character/' wherein he represents himself as a 
prey to the most opposite impressions, and as being 
in a miserable state of incertitude : 

" First I premise it's my honest conviction, 
That my breast is the chaos of ail contradiction, 
Religious — deistic — now loyal and warm, 
Then a dagger-drawn democrat hot for reform; 



Now moody and sad, now unthinking and gay, 
To all points of the compass I veer in a day." 

In this sketch there is evidently much truth ; and 
it affords a striking idea of a plastic and active 
mind, on which every thing makes an impression, 
where one idea follows another in such rapid suc- 
cession, that the former is not so entirely removed, 
but that some remains of it are amalgamated with 
its successor. A youth whose intellect is thus 
tossed in a whirlpool of conflicting speculations, 
resembles a goodly ship newly launched, which, 
until properly steadied by ballast, reels from side to 
side, the sport of every undulation of the waters. 

About this time young White's religious feelings 
were strongly affected by the conversion of his 
friend, Mr. Almond, whose opinions were previ- 



XX MEMOIR OF KIRKE WHITE. 

ously as unsettled as his own. To escape the rail- 
lery with which he expected White would assail 
him on learning the change in his sentiments, Al- 
mond avoided his society ; and when his friend 
offered to defend his opinions, if Henry would 
allow the divine originality of the Bible, he ex- 
claimed, " Good God ! you surely regard me in a 
worse light than I deserve." The discussion that 
followed, and the perusal of Scott's " Force of 
Truth," which Almond placed in his hands, induced 
him to direct his attention seriously to the subject ; 
but an affecting incident soon afterwards showed 
how deeply he was then influenced by religious 
considerations. On the evening before Mr. Al- 
mond left Nottingham for Cambridge, he was 
requested by White to accompany him to his apart- 
ment. The moment they entered, Henry burst 
into tears, declaring that his anguish of mind was 
insupportable ; and he entreated Almond to kneel 
and pray for him. Their tears and supplications 
w 7 ere cordially mingled, and when they were about 
to separate, White said, " What must I do ? You 
are the only friend to whom I can apply in this ago- 
nizing state, and you are about to leave me. My 
literary associates are all inclined to deism. I have 
no one with whom I can communicate." 

It is instructive to learn to what circumstance 
such a person as Kirke White was indebted for the 
knowledge " which causes not to err." This in- 
formation occurs in a letter from him to a Mr. 



MEMOIR OF KIRKE WHITE. XXI 

Booth, in August, 1801 ; and it also fixes the date 
of the happy change that influenced every thought 
and every action of his future life, which gave the 
energy of virtue to his exertions, soothed the aspe- 
rities of a temper naturally impetuous and irritable, 
and enabled him, at a period when manhood is full 
of hope and promise, to view the approaches of 
death with the calmness of a philosopher, and the 
resignation of a saint. 

After thanking Mr. Booth for the present of 
Jones's work on the Trinity, he thus describes his 
religious impressions previous to its perusal, and 
the effect it produced : 

" Religious polemics, indeed, have seldom formed 
a part of my studies ; though whenever I happened 
accidentally to turn my thoughts to the subject of 
the Protestant doctrine of the Godhead, and com- 
pared it with Arian and Socinian, many doubts in- 
terfered, and I even began to think that the more 
nicely the subject was investigated, the more per- 
plexed it would appear, and was on the point of 
forming a resolution to go to heaven in my own 
way, without meddling or involving myself in the 
inextricable labyrinth of controversial dispute, when 
I received and perused this excellent treatise, which 
finally cleared up the mists which my ignorance 
had conjured around me, and clearly pointed out 
the real truth." 

From the moment he became convinced of the 
truths of Christianity, all the enthusiasm of his 






XX11 MEMOIR OF KIRKE WHITE. 

nature was kindled. The ministry only, was 
deemed worthy of his ambition ; and he devoted 
his thoughts to the sacred office with a zeal that 
justified a hope of the richest fruits. In a letter 
to his friend, Mr. Almond, in November, 1803, he 
says, 

" My dear friend, I cannot adequately express 
what I owe to you on the score of religion. I told 
Mr. Robinson you were the first instrument of my 
being brought to think deeply on religious subjects; 
and I feel more and more every day, that if it had 
not been for you, I might, most probably, have 
been now buried in apathy and unconcern. Though 
I am in a great measure blessed, — I mean blessed 
with faith, now pretty steadfast, and heavy convic- 
tions, I am far from being happy. My sins have 
been of a dark hue, and manifold: I have made 
Fame my God, and Ambition my shrine. I have 
placed all my hopes on the things of this world. 
I have knelt to Dagon ; I have worshiped the evil 
creations of my own proud heart, and God had 
well nigh turned his countenance from me in 
wrath ; perhaps one step further, and he might 
have shut me for ever from his rest. I now turn 
my eyes to Jesus, my saviour, my atonement, with 
hope and confidence : he will not repulse the im 
ploring penitent ; his arms are open to all, they are 
open even to me ; and in return for such a mercy 
what can I do less than dedicate my whole life tc 
his service ? My thoughts would fain recur at in- 



MEMOIR OF K1RKE WHITE. XXill 

tervals to my former delights ; but I am now on 
my guard to restrain and keep them in. I know 
now where they ought to concentre, and with the 
blessing of God, they shall there all tend. 

" My next publication of poems will be solely 
religious. I shall not destroy those of a different 
nature, which now lie before me ; but they will, 
most probably, sleep in my desk, until, in the good 
time of my great Lord and Master, I shall receive 
my passport from this world of vanity. I am now 
bent on a higher errand than that of the attainment 
of poetical fame ; poetry, in future, will be my re- 
laxation, not my employment. — Adieu to literary 
ambition ! ' You do not aspire to be prime minister,' 
said Mr. Robinson ; ' you covet a far higher cha- 
racter — to be the humblest among those who mi- 
nister to their Maker.' " 

To the arguments of his friends on the impolicy 
of quitting a profession to which he had given so 
much of his time, and on the obstacles to the at- 
tainment of his wishes, he was impenetrable. His 
employers generously offered to cancel his articles 
as soon as he could show that his resources were 
likely to support him at the University. Friends 
arose as they became necessary, and more than one 
or two persons exerted themselves to promote his 
views ; but his principal reliance was on the sale of 
a little volume of Poems, which, at the suggestion 
of Mr. Capel Lofft, he prepared for the press. 

The history of an author's first book is always 



XXIV MEMOIR OF KIRKE WHITE. 

interesting, and Kirke White's was attended with 
unusual incidents. A novice in literature often 
imagines that it is important his work should be 
dedicated to some person of rank ; and the Countess 
of Derby was applied to, who declined, on the 
ground that she never accepted a compliment of 
that nature. He then addressed the Duchess of 
Devonshire ; and a letter, with the manuscript, 
was left at her house. The difficulty of obtaining 
access to her Grace proved so great, that more 
than one letter to his brother was written on the 
subject, in which he indignantly says, " I am cured 
of patronage hunting ; as for begging patronage, I 
am tired to the soul of it, and shall give it up." 
Permission to inscribe the book to the Duchess 
was at length granted : the book came out in 1803 ; 
and a copy was transmitted to her, of which, how- 
ever, no notice whatever was taken. 

On the publication of the volume, a copy was 
sent to each Review, with a letter deprecatory of 
the severity of criticism, an act as ill judged as it 
was useless, since all that a young writer could 
properly say was to be found in the preface, in 
which he stated that his inducement to publish was, 
" the facilitation through its means of those studies 
which, from his earliest infancy, have been the 
principal objects of his ambition, and the increase 
of the capacity to pursue these inclinations, which 
may one day place him in an honourable station 
in the scale of societv." 



MEMOIR OF KIRKE WHITE. XXV 

His feelings received a severe wound from the 
notice of his Poems in the Monthly Review, the 
writer of which, not satisfied with saying that the 
production did not " justify any sanguine expecta- 
tions," selected four of the worst lines in support of 
his opinion, and showed himself insensible of the 
numerous beauties scattered through the various 
pieces. Writing to a friend soon afterwards, he 
thus spoke of himself; and more mental wretched- 
ness has seldom been described : 

" I am at present under afflictions and conten- 
tions of spirit, heavier than I have yet ever experi- 
enced. I think, at times, I am mad, and destitute 
of religion. My pride is not yet subdued : the un- 
favourable review (in the " Monthly") of my un- 
happy work, has cut deeper than you could have 
thought ; not in a literary point of view, but as it 
affects my respectability. It represents me actually 
as a beggar, going about gathering money to put 
myself at college, when my book is worthless ; and 
this with every appearance of candour. They have 
been sadly misinformed respecting me : this review 
goes before me wherever I turn my steps ; it haunts 
me incessantly, and I am persuaded it is an instru- 
ment in the hand of Satan to drive me to dis- 
traction. I must leave Nottingham. If the answer 
of the Elland Society be unfavourable, I purpose 
writing to the Marquis of Wellesley, to offer my- 
self as a student at the academy he has instituted 
at Fort William, in Bengal, and at the proper age 

c. 



XXVI MEMOIR OF KIRKE WHITE. 

to take orders there. The missionaries at that 
place have done wonders already ; and I should, I 
hope, be a valuable labourer in the vineyard. If 
the Marquis take no notice of my application, or do 
not accede to my proposal, I shall place myself in 
some other way of making a meet preparation for 
the holy office, either in the Calvinistic Academy, 
or in one of the Scotch Universities, where I shall 
be able to live at scarcely any expense." 

The criticism just adverted to was as unfeeling 
as unjust; and but for the generous conduct of a 
distinguished living poet, whose benevolence of 
heart is equal to his genius, it might have entirely 
crushed his hopes. Disgusted at the injustice 
of this criticism, Mr. Southey instantly wrote to 
White, expressing his opinion of the merits of his 
book, and giving him the encouragement and ad- 
vice which none was ever more ready or more able 
to bestow. Thus, an act of cruel folly proved in 
its consequences the most beneficial of the Poet's 
life. His spirits were invigorated by this conside- 
rate kindness, and his feelings were expressed in 
glowing terms : 

" I dare not say all I feel respecting your opi- 
nion of my little volume. The extreme acrimony 
with which the Monthly Review (of all others the 
most important) treated me, threw me into a state 
of stupefaction. I regarded all that had passed as a 
dream, and I thought I had been deluding myself 
into an idea of possessing poetic genius, when, in 



MEMOIR OF KIRKE WHITE. XXV11 

fact, I had only the longing, without the afflatus, 
I mustered resolution enough, however, to write 
spiritedly to them : their answer, in the ensuing 
number, was a tacit acknowledgment that they 
had been somewhat too unsparing in their correc- 
tion. It was a poor attempt to salve over a wound 
wantonly and most ungenerously inflicted. Still I 
was damped, because I knew the work was very 
respectable ; and therefore could not, I concluded, 
give a criticism grossly deficient in equity, the more 
especially, as I knew of no sort of inducement to 
extraordinary severity. Your letter, however, has 
revived me, and I do again venture to hope that I 
may still produce something which will survive me. 
With regard to your advice and offers of assistance, 
I will not attempt, because I am unable, to thank 
you for them. To-morrow morning I depart for 
Cambridge ; and I have considerable hopes that, as 
I do not enter into the University with any sinister 
or interested views, but sincerely desire to perform 
the duties of an affectionate and vigilant pastor, and 
become more useful to mankind ; I therefore have 
hopes, I say, that I shall find means of support in 
the University. If I do not, I shall certainly act 
in pursuance of your recommendations ; and shall, 
without hesitation, avail myself of your offers of 
service, and of your directions. In a short time 
this will be determined; and when it is, I shall 
take the liberty of writing to you at Keswick, to 
make you acquainted with the result, I have only 



XXV111 MEMOIR OF KIRKE WHITE. 

one objection to publishing by subscription, and I 
confess it has weight with me ; it is, that, in this 
step, I shall seem to be acting upon the advice so 
unfeelingly and contumeliously given by the Monthly 
Reviewers, who say what is equal to this, that had 
I gotten a subscription for my poems before their 
merit was known, I might have succeeded ; pro- 
vided, it seems, I had made a particular statement 
of my case ; like a beggar who stands with his hat 
in one hand, and a full account of his cruel treat- 
ment on the coast of Barbary in the other, and so 
gives you his penny sheet for your sixpence, by 
way of half purchase, half charity. I have mate- 
rials for another volume ; but they were written 
principally while Clifton Grove was in the press, or 
soon after, and do not now at all satisfy me. In- 
deed, of late, I have been obliged to desist, almost 
entirely, from converse with the dames of Helicon. 
The drudgery of an attorney's office, and the ne- 
cessity of preparing myself, in case I should succeed 
in getting to college, in what little leisure I could 
boast, left no room for the flights of the imagi- 
nation." 

As soon as there were reasonable hopes of an 
adequate support being obtained for him at Cam- 
bridge, he went to the village of Wilford, for a 
month, to recruit his health, on which intense 
application had made great inroads. Near this 
place were Clifton Woods, the subject of one of his 
Poems, and which had long been his favourite 



MEMOIR OF KIRKE WHITE. XXIX 

resort. Here lie fully indulged in that love of the 
beauties of nature, which forms a leading trait in 
the Poetic character : and on this occasion he gave 
full reins to those reveries of the imagination, of 
the delight of which a Poet only is sensible. His 
lines on Wilford Church Yard show the melancholy 
tone of his mind ; and those Verses, as well as his 
" Ode to Disappointment," of which no praise 
would be too extravagant, appear to have been 
written on learning from his mother, before he left 
Wilford, that the efforts made to place him at 
Cambridge had failed. It was evidently to this 
circumstance, which for the time blighted his aspi- 
rations, that he alluded, when he says he was, 

" From Hope's summit hurl'd." 

His remark to his mother on the occasion evinced, 
nevertheless, great energy of mind. His complaints 
were confined to verse, for the disappointment had 
no other effect upon his conduct than to induce him 
to apply to his studies with unprecedented vigour, 
that, since he was to revert to the law as a profes- 
sion, he might not be, as he observed, " a mediocre 
attorney." He read regularly from five in the 
morning until some time after midnight, and occa- 
sionally passed whole nights without lying down ; 
and the entreaties, even when accompanied by the 
tears of his mother, that he would not thus destroy 
his health, did not induce him to relax his zeal. 

Symptoms of consumption, the disease to which 



XXX MEMOIR OF KIRKE WHITE. 

he ultimately became a victim, and which he desig- 
nates, in one of his many allusions to it, as 

u The most fatal of Pandora's train/' 

began now to excite the anxiety of his family. 
Illness was, however, forgotten in the realization of 
the hope dearest to his heart. The exertions of 
his friends proved successful at a time when all 
expectations had vanished ; and by their united 
efforts it was resolved that he should become a sizer 
of St. John's College, Cambridge, his brother 
Neville, his mother, and a benevolent individual, 
whose name is not mentioned, having agreed- to 
contribute to support him. It appears, that if he 
had not succeeded in that object, he intended to 
have joined the society of orthodox dissenters, for 
which purpose he underwent an examination. 
Though his attainments and character proved satis- 
factory on that occasion, his volume of Poems rose 
in judgment against him, and nothing but the 
approbation Mr. Southey had expressed of them 
prevented his work from being considered a dis- 
qualification for the ministry. His feelings on the 
prospect of entering the Church are described with 
great force in his letter, dated in April, 1804. 

" Most fervently do I return thanks to God for 
this providential opening : it has breathed new 
animation into me, and my breast expands with the 
prospect of becoming the minister of Christ where 
I most desired it ; but where I almost feared all 



MEMOIR OF KIRKE WHITE. XXXI 

probability of success was nearly at an end. In- 
deed, I had begun to turn my thoughts to the dis- 
senters, as people of whom I was destined, not by 
choice, but necessity, to become the pastor. Still, 
although I knew I should be happy any where, so 
that I were a profitable labourer in the vineyard, I 
did, by no means, feel that calm, that indescribable 
satisfaction which I do when I look toward that 
Church, which I think in the main formed on the 
apostolic model, and from which I am decidedly of 
opinion there is no positive grounds for dissent. 
I return thanks to God for keeping me so long in 
suspense, for I know it has been beneficial to my 
soul, and I feel a considerable trust that the way is 
now about to be made clear, and that my doubts 
and fears on this head will, in due time, be re- 
moved." 

Being advised to degrade for a year, and to place 
himself with a private tutor, he went to the Rev. 
Mr. Grainger of Winteringham, in Lincolnshire, 
in the autumn of 1804. While under that gentle- 
man's care he studied with such intense fervour, 
that fears were excited not for his health only, but 
for his intellect ; and a second severe attack of ill- 
ness w r as the consequence. Poetry was now laid 
aside, and as he himself told a friend in February, 
1805, 

" My poor neglected Muse has lain absolutely 
unnoticed by me for the last four months, during 
which period I have been digging in the mines of 



XXX11 MEMOIR OF KIRKE WHITE. 

Scapula for Greek roots, and instead of drinking 
with eager delight the beauties of Virgil have 
been culling and drying his phrases for future use." 
— " I fear my good genius, who was wont to visit 
me with nightly visions in woods and brakes and 
by the river's marge, is now dying of a fen ague, 
and I shall thus probably emerge from my retreat 
not a hair-brained son of imagination, but a sedate 
black-lettered bookworm, with a head like an ety- 
mologicon magnum." 

To Mr. Capel LoiTt, in the September following, 
after stating that all his time was employed in pre- 
paring himself for orders, his estimate of the neces- 
sary qualifications being very high, he observed : 

" I often, however, cast a look of fond regret to 
the darling occupations of my younger hours, and 
the tears rush into my eyes, as I fancy I see the 
few wild flowers of poetic genius, with which I have 
been blessed, withering with neglect. Poetry has 
been to me something more than amusement; it 
has been a cheering companion w r hen I have had 
no other to fly to, and a delightful solace when 
consolation has been in some measure needful. 
I cannot, therefore, discard so old and faithful a 
friend without deep regret, especially when I reflect 
that, stung by my ingratitude, he may desert me 
for ever !" 

But the old fire was, he adds, rekindled by look- 
ing over some of his pieces which Mr. Lofft wished 
to print; and he transmitted to that gentleman a 



MEMOIR OF KIRKE WHITE. XXXlil 

short Poem, expressive of his sorrow at taking 
leave of his favourite pursuit. The following 
passages could only have arisen from a love of 
Poetry, which it was not in the power of severer 
studies to extinguish : 

Heart-soothing Poesy ! Though thou hast ceased 
To hover o'er the many voiced strings 
Of my long silent lyre, yet thou canst still 
Call the warm tear from its thrice hallow'd cell, 
And with recalled images of bliss 
Warm my reluctant heart. Yes, I would throw, 
Once more would throw, a quick and hurried hand 
O'er the responding chords. It hath not ceased, 
It cannot, will not cease ; the heavenly warmth 
Plays round my heart, and mantles o'er my cheek ; 
Still, though unbidden, plays. Fair Poesy ! 
The summer and the spring, the wind and rain, 
Sunshine and storm, with various interchange, 
Have mark'd full many a day, and week, and month, 
Since by dark wood, or hamlet far retired, 
Spell-struck, with thee I loiter'd. Sorceress ! 
I cannot burst thy bonds ! 

In October, 1805, Kirke White became a resident 
member of St. John's College, Cambridge ; and 
such was the use he had made of his time at Win- 
teringham, that he was distinguished for his clas- 
sical knowledge. But he had dearly purchased his 
superiority. His constitution was much shattered 
when he went to Mr. Grainger, and every day 
brought with it new proofs that his career had 
nearly reached its bounds. The only chance of 
prolonging his life was to seek a milder climate, 



XXXIV MEMOIR OF KIRKE WHITE. 

and to abandon study entirely. As in all great 
minds, Fame was, however, dearer to him than 
existence. He felt that every thing connected with 
his future prospects was at stake ; and he adhered 
to a course of rigorous application until nature 
gave way. During his first term he became a 
candidate for one of the University scholarships ; 
but the increased exertion he underwent was at- 
tended by results that obliged him to retire from 
the contest. At this moment the general college 
examination approached, and thinking that if he 
failed his hopes would be blasted for ever, he 
taxed his energies to the uttermost, during the 
fortnight which intervened, to meet the trial. 
His illness, however, speedily returned ; and, 
with tears in his eyes, he informed his tutor, 
Mr. Catton, that he could not go into the Hall to 
be examined. That gentleman, whose kindness to 
the Poet entitles his name to respect, urged him 
to support himself during the six days of the 
examination. Powerful stimulants were adminis- 
tered, and he was pronounced the first man of his 
year. The triumph, complete and exhilarating as 
it was, too closely resembled that of the generous 
steed, who, in distancing his competitors, reaches 
the goal, and dies ; and his own ideas of the sacrifices 
with which such an honour must be attended were 
very poetical. He said to an intimate friend, 
almost the last time he saw him, that were he to 
paint a picture of Fame crowning a distinguished 



MEMOIR OF KIRKE WHITE. XXXV 

under graduate after the senate house examination, 
he would represent her as concealing a death's head 
under a mask of beauty. 

Soon after this event, Kirke White went to 
London, and on Christmas Eve he wrote to his 
mother from town, stating that his health had 
been rather affected by study, that he came to 
London for amusement, and that his tutor had, 
in the kindest manner, relieved his mind from 
pecuniary cares, and cheered him with the assurance 
that his talents would be rewarded by his College. 
But it is from his letters to his friend that the real 
state to which excitement and labour had reduced 
him, is to be learnt, because, to allay the fears of 
his relations, he represented himself to them, as 
being much better than he actually w r as : 

London, Christmas, 1805. 

"I wrote you a letter, which now lies in my 
drawer at St. John's ; but in such a weak state of 
body, and in so desponding and comfortless a tone 
of mind, that I knew it would give you pain, and 
therefore I chose not to send it. I have indeed 
been ill ; but thanks to God, I am recovered. My 
nerves were miserably shattered by over application, 
and the absence of all that could amuse, and the 
presence of many things which weighed heavy upon 
my spirits. When I found myself too ill to read, 
and too desponding to endure my own reflections, 
I discovered that it is really a miserable thing to 



XXXVI MEMOIR OF KIRKE WHITE. 

be destitute of the soothing and supporting handj 
when nature most needs it. I wandered up andj 
down from one man's room to another, and from) 
one College to another, imploring society, a little 
conversation, and a little relief of the burden which 
pressed upon my spirits ; and I am sorry to say. 
that those who, when I was cheerful and lively, 
sought my society with avidity, now, when I 
actually needed conversation, were too busy tc 
grant it. Our College examination was then ap- 
proaching, and I perceived with anguish that I had 
read for the university scholarship until I had barely 
time to get up our private subjects, and that as 1 
was now too ill to read, all hope of getting through 
the examination with decent respectability was at 
an end. This was an additional grief. I went tc 
our tutor, with tears in my eyes, and told him I 
must absent myself from the examination, — a step 
which would have precluded me from a station 
amongst the prize-men until the second year. He 
earnestly entreated me to run the risk. My 
surgeon gave me strong stimulants and supporting 
medicines during the examination week ; and I 
passed, I believe, one of the most respectable 
examinations amongst them. As soon as ever it 
was over, I left Cambridge, by the advice of my 
surgeon and tutor, and I feel myself now pretty 
strong. I have given up the thought of sitting for 
the University scholarship, in consequence of my 
illness, as the course of my reading was effectually 



MEMOIR OF KIRKE WHITE. XXXV11 

broken. In this place I have been much amused, and 
have been received with an attention in the literary 
circles which I neither expected nor deserved. 
But this does not affect me as it once would have 
done : my views are widely altered ; and I hope 
that I shall in time learn to lay my whole heart at 
the foot of the cross." 

Early in January following- he returned to Cam- 
bridge, and imprudently resumed his old habits of 
study, according to the following plan : " Rise at 
half-past five ; devotions and walk till seven ; 
chapel and breakfast till eight ; study and lectures 
till one ; four and a half clear reading ; walk, &c. 
and dinner, and Wollaston, and chapel to six ; six 
to nine reading, three hours ; nine to ten devotions ; 
bed at ten." With him, however, exercise was but 
slight relaxation, as his intellectual faculties were 
kept on the stretch during his walks, and he is 
known to have committed to memory a whole tra- 
gedy of Euripides in this manner, and as they were 
not less exerted in his devotions, his mind must have 
been intensely occupied for twelve or fourteen 
hours a day, at a moment when perfect quiet and 
rest were indispensable. Within a very few weeks 
he paid a heavy penalty for his indiscretion. To 
his friend, Mr. Maddock, he wrote on the 17th 
of February, 1806 : 

" Do not think I am reading hard ; I believe it is 



XXXV1I1 MEMOIR OF KIRKE WHITE. 

all over with that. I have had a recurrence of my 
old complaint within this last four or five day*. 
which has half unnerved me for every thing. The 
state of my health is really miserable ; I am wel' 
and lively in the morning, and overwhelmed with 
nervous horrors in the evening. I do not know 
how to proceed with regard to my studies : — a ven 
slight overstretch of the mind in the daytime 
occasions me not only a sleepless night, but a nighl 
of gloom and horror. The systole and diastole ol 
my heart seem to be playing at ball — the stake 
my life. I can only say the game is not yei 
decided : — I allude to the violence of the palpita- 
tion. I am going to mount the Gog-magog hills 
this morning, in quest of a good night's sleep. The 
Gog-magog hills for my body, and the Bible foi 
my mipd, are my only medicines. I am sorry tc 
say, that neither are quite adequate. Cui, igitur 
dandum est vitio ? Mihi prorsus. I hope, as the 
summer comes, my spirits (which have been witr. 
the swallows, a winter's journey) will come with it 
When my spirits are restored, my health will b( 
restored: — the 'fons mali' lies there. Give me 
serenity and equability of mind, and all will bt 
well." 

He, however, rallied again ; but he seems te 
have been aware that his end was not far distant, 
for in March he told his brother, that though hi; 
stay at Cambridge, in the long vacation, was impor 



MEMOIR OF KIRKE WHITE. XXXIX 

tant, he intended to go to Nottingham for his health, 
and more particularly for his mother's sake; add- 
ing, "I shall be glad to moor all my family in 
the harbour of religious trust, and in the calm 
seas of religious peace. These concerns are apt 
at times to escape me ; but they now press much 
upon my heart, and I think it is my first duty to 
see that my family are safe in the most important 
of all affairs." 

In April, however, he drew a pleasing picture 
of his future life, in which his filial and paternal 
tenderness are conspicuous ; but he soon afterwards 
went to Nottingham ; and in a letter to his friend 
Mr. Leeson, written from that town, on the 7th of 
April, he gave a very melancholy account of him- 
self: 

" It seems determined upon, by my mother, that 
I cannot be spared, since the time of my stay is 
so very short,, and my health so very uncertain. 
jThe people here can scarcely be persuaded that 
| any thing ails me, so well do I look ; but occasional 
i depressions, especially after any thing has occurred 
» to occasion uneasiness, still harass me. My mind 
is of a very peculiar cast. I began to think too 
j early; and the indulgence of certain trains of 
)| thought, and too free an exercise of the imagination, 
ihave superinduced a morbid kind of sensibility; 
si which is to the mind what excessive irritability is 
.to the body. Some circumstances occurred on my 



Xl MEMOIR OF KIRKE WHITE. 

arrival at Nottingham, which gave me just cause 
for inquietude and anxiety ; the consequences were 
insomnia, and a relapse into causeless dejections. 
It is my business now to curb these irrational and 
immoderate affections, and, by accustoming myself 
to sober thought and cool reasoning, to restrain 
these freaks and vagaries of the fancy, and redun- 
dancies of jueXay^oXia. When I am well, I cannot 
help entertaining a sort of contempt for the weak- 
ness of mind which marks my indispositions. Titus 
when well, and Titus when ill, are two distinct 
persons. The man, when in health, despises the 
man, when ill, for his weakness, and the latter 
envies the former for his felicity/' 

As his health declined his prospects seemed to 
brighten. He was again pronounced first at the 
great College examination ; he was one of the three 
best theme writers, whose merits were so nearly 
equal that the examiners could not decide between 
them ; and he was a prize-man both in the mathe- 
matical and logical or general examination, and in 
Latin composition. His College offered him a 
private tutor at its expense, and Mr. Catton ob- 
tained exhibitions for him to the value of sixty-six 
pounds per annum, by which he was enabled to 
give up the pecuniary assistance he had received 
from his friends. But even at this moment, when 
the world promised so much, his situation was truly 
deplorable. The highest honours of the University 



MEMOIR OF KIRKE WHITE. Xil 

were supposed to be within his grasp, and the 
conviction that such was the general opinion, 
goaded him on to the most strenuous exertions 
when he was incapable of the slightest. This 
struggle between his mental and physical powers, 
was not, however, of long duration. In July 
he was seized with an attack that threatened his 
life, and which he thus described in a letter to 
Mr. Maddock : 

" Last Saturday morning I rose early, and got 
up some rather abstruse problems in mechanics for 
my tutor, spent an hour with him, between eight 
and nine got my breakfast, and read the Greek 
History (at breakfast) till ten, then sat down to 
decipher some logarithm tables. I think I had 
not done any thing at them, when I lost myself. 
At a quarter past eleven my laundress found me 
bleeding in four different places in my face and 
head, and insensible. I got up and staggered 
about the room, and she, being frightened, ran 
away, and told my gyp to fetch a surgeon. Before 
he came I was sallying out with my flannel gown 
on. and my academical gown over it ; he made me 
put on my coat, and then I went to Mr. Farish^s : 
he opened a vein, and my recollection returned. 
My own idea was, that I had fallen out of bed, and 
so I told Mr. Farish at first; but I afterwards 
remembered that I had been to Mr. Fiske, and 
breakfasted. Mr. Catton has insisted on my 

d. 



xlii MEMOIR OF KIRKE WHITE. 

consulting Sir Isaac Pennington, and the conse- 
quence is, that 1 am to go through a course of 
blistering, &c. which, after the bleeding, will leave 
me weak enough. 

"I am, however, very well, except as regards 
the doctors, and yesterday I drove into the country 
to Saffron Walden, in a gig. My tongue is in a 
bad condition, from a bite which I gave it either in 
my fall, or in the moments of convulsion. My 
nose has also come badly off. I believe I fell 
against my reading desk. My other wounds are 
only rubs and scratches on the carpet. I am 
ordered to remit my studies for a while, by the 
common advice both of doctors and tutors. Dr. 
Pennington hopes to prevent any recurrence of the 
fit. He thinks it looks tow r ards epilepsy, of the 
horrors of which malady I have a very full and 
precise idea ; and I only pray that God will spare 
me as respects my faculties, however else it may 
seem good to him to afflict me. Were I my own 
master, I know how I should act ; but I am tied 
here by bands which I cannot burst. I know that 
change of place is needful ; but I must not indulge 
in the idea. The college must not pay my tutor 
for nothing. Dr. Pennington and Mr. Farish 
attribute the attack to a too continued tension of 
the faculties. As I am much alone now, I never 
get quite off study, and I think incessantly. I 
know nature will not endure this. They both 
proposed my going home, but Mr. * * did not 
hint at it, although much concerned ; and, indeed, 



MEMOIR OF KIRKE WHITE. xliii 

I know home would be a bad place for me in my 
present situation. I look round for a resting 
place, and I find none. Yet there is one, which I 
have long too, too much disregarded, and thither I 
must now betake myself. There are many situa- 
tions worse than mine, and I have no business to 
complain. If these afflictions should draw the 
bonds tighter which hold me to my Redeemer, it 
will be well. You may be assured that you have 
here a plain statement of my case in its true 
colours, without any palliation. I am now well 
again, and have only to fear a relapse, which I 
shall do all I can to prevent, by a relaxation in 
study. I have now written too much. 

" I am very sincerely yours, 

« H. K. White. 

" P. S. I charge you, as you value my peace, 
not to let my friends hear, either directly or indi- 
rectly, of my illness." 

A few weeks afterwards he again directed his 
mothers hopes to a tranquil retreat for his family 
in his parsonage, but said nothing of his illness ; 
and he told Mr. Maddock, in September, 

" I am perfectly well again, and have experienced 
no recurrence of the fit : my spirits, too, are better, 
and I read very moderately. I hope that God will 
be pleased to spare his rebellious child ; this stroke 
has brought me nearer to Him ; whom indeed have 



xliv MEMOIR OF KIRKE WHITE. 

I for my comforter but Him ? I am still reading 
but with moderation, as I have been during the 
whole vacation, whatever you may persist in think- 
ing. My heart turns with more fondness towards 
the consolations of religion than it did, and in some 
degree I have found consolation." 

But notwithstanding these flattering expressions, 
he appears to have felt that he had but a short 
time to live ; and it was probably about this period 
that he wrote his lines on the " Prospect of Death," 
perhaps one of the most beautiful and affecting 
compositions in our language : 

" On my bed, in wakeful restlessness, 
I turn me wearisome ; while all around, 
All, all, save me, sink in forgetfulness ; 
I only wake to watch the sickly taper 
Which lights me to my tomb. — Yes, 'tis the hand 
Of Death I feel press heavy on my vitals, 
Slow sapping the warm current of existence. 
My moments now are few — the sand of life 
Ebbs fastly to its finish. Yet a little, 
And the last fleeting particle will fall, 
Silent, unseen, unnoticed, unlamented. 
Come then, sad Thought, and let us meditate 
While meditate we may. 



I hoped I should not leave 
The earth without a vestige ; Fate decrees 
It shall be otherwise, and I submit. 
Henceforth, O world, no more of thy desires I 
No more of Hope ! the wanton vagrant Hope ; 
I abjure all. Now other cares engross me, 
And my tired soul, with emulative haste, 
Looks to its God, and prunes its wings for Heaven." 



MEMOIR OF KIRKE WHITE. XiV 

On the 22nd of September he wrote to Mr. 
Charlesworth, and his letter indicates the possession 
of higher spirits and more sanguine hopes, than 
almost any other in his correspondence. About the 
end of that month he went to London, on a visit 
to his brother Neville, but returned to College 
within a few weeks, in a state that precluded all 
chance of prolonging his existence ; but still he 
did not cease to hope, or rather sought to delude 
his brother into the belief that he should recover ; 
for in a letter addressed to him, which was found 
in his pocket after his decease, dated Saturday, 
1 1th of October, he says, 

" I am safely arrived, and in College, but my 
illness has increased upon me much. The cough 
continues, and is attended with a good deal of 
fever. I am under the care of Mr. Farish, and 
entertain very little apprehension about the cough ; 
but my over-exertions in town have reduced me to 
a state of much debility ; and, until the cough be 
gone, I cannot be permitted to take any strengthen- 
ing medicines. This places me in an awkward 
predicament ; but I think I perceive a degree of 
expectoration this morning, which will soon relieve 
me, and then I shall mend apace. Under these 
circumstances I must not expect to see you here at 
present ; when I am a little recovered, it will be a 
pleasant relaxation to me. Our lectures began on 
Friday, but I do not attend them until I am better. 



Xlvi MEMOIR OF KIRKE WHITE. 

I have not written to my mother, nor shall I while 
I remain unwell. You will tell her, as a reason, 
that our lectures began on Friday. I know she 
will be uneasy if she do not hear from me, and still 
more so, if I tell her I am ill. 

" I cannot write more at present than that I am 
" Your truly affectionate Brother, 

" H. K. White." 

A friend acquainted his brother with his situa- 
tion, who hastened to him ; but when he arrived he 
was delirious, and though reason returned for a few 
moments, as if to bless him with the consciousness 
that the same fond relative, to whose attachment 
he owed so much, was present at his last hour, he 
sunk into a stupor, and on Sunday, the 19th of 
October, 1806, he breathed his last. 

Thus died, in his twenty- second year, Henry 
Kirke White, whose genius and virtues justified 
the brightest hopes, and whose fitness for Heaven 
does not bring the consolation for his untimely 
fate which perhaps it ought. It is impossible to 
refrain from anticipating what his talents might 
have produced, had his existence been extended ; 
and though it is extremely doubtful if he were 
capable of worldly happiness, there is a selfishness 
in our nature which makes us grieve when those 
who are likely to increase our intellectual plea- 
sures are hurried to the grave. 

In whatever light the character of this unhappv 



MEMOIR OF KIRKE WHITE. xlvil 

youth be contemplated, it is full of instruction. 
His talents were unusually precocious, and their 
variety was as astonishing as their extent. Besides 
the Poetical pieces in this volume, and his scholastic 
attainments, his ability was manifested in various 
other ways. His style was remarkable for its 
clearness and elegance, and his correspondence and 
prose pieces shew extensive information. To great 
genius and capacity, he united the rarest and more 
important gifts of sound judgment and common 
sense. It is usually the misfortune of genius to 
invest ordinary objects with a meretricious colour- 
ing, that perverts their forms and purposes, to 
make its possessor imagine that it exempts him 
from attending to those strict rules of moral conduct 
to which others are bound to adhere, and to render 
him neglectful of the sacred assurance that "to 
whom much is given from him will much be re- 
quired." Nature, in Kirke White's case, appears, 
on the contrary, to have determined that she would, 
in one instance at least, prove that high intellec- 
tual attainments are strictly compatible with every 
social and moral virtue. At a very early period 
of his life, religion became the predominant feeling 
of his mind, and she imparted her sober and 
chastened effects to all his thoughts and actions. 
The cherished object of every member of his family, 
he repaid their affection by the most anxious solici- 
tude for their welfare, offering his advice on spiritual 
affairs with impressive earnestness, and indicating, 



X1V111 MEMOIR OF KIRKE WHITE. 

in every letter of his voluminous correspondence, 
the greatest consideration for their feelings and 
happiness. For the last six years he deemed him- 
self marked out for the service of his Maker, not 
like the member of a convent, whose duties consist 
only in prayer, but in the exercise of that philan- 
thropy and practical benevolence which ought to 
adorn every pai'ish priest. To qualify himself pro- 
perly for the holy office, he subjected his mind 
to the severest discipline ; and his letters display a 
rational piety, and an enlightened view of religious 
obligations, that confer much greater honour upon 
his name, than his Poetical pieces, whether as proofs 
of talent, or of the qualities of his heart. 

Such was Henry Kirke White as he appeared 
to others ; but there are minuter traits of character 
which no observer can catch, and which the pos- 
sessor must himself delineate. Though early im- 
pressed with melancholy, it was not of a misan- 
thropic nature ; and while despair and disappointment 
were preying on his heart, he was all sweetness 
and docility to others. A consciousness of the 
possession of abilities, and of being capable of better 
things than those which he seemed destined to 
perform, gives to some of his productions the ap- 
pearance of discontent, and of having overrated his 
pretensions. He was, like many youthful Poets, 
too fond of complaining of fortune, of supposing 
himself neglected, and of comparing his humble lot 
with those situations for which he believed himself 



MEMOIR OF KIRKE WHITE. xlix 

qualified ; but these were the lucubrations of his 
earliest years, before he found friends to foster his 
talents. So far, indeed, from having reason to 
lament the indifference of others to his merits, his 
life affords one of the most striking examples in the 

I history of genius, that talents when united to moral 
worth, will be rewarded by honours and fame, that 

; obscure birth is no impediment to advancement, and 
that a person of the humblest origin may, by his own 
exertions, become, in the great arena of learning, an 
object of envy even to those of the highest rank. It 
is due to him, whose good sense was so remarkable, 
to point out the time in his career to which the 
passages in question refer; and to add that his 
correspondence, after he entered the University, 
expressed nothing but satisfaction with his lot, and 
a desire to justify the kindness and expectations of 
his patrons. Still Kirke White was unhappy ; and, 
since no other cause then existed for his mental 
wretchedness, it must be ascribed to a morbid tem- 
perament, induced partly by ill health, and partly by 
constitutional infirmity. The uncertainty of his 
early prospects, and the fear of ridicule if he ex-- 
pressed his feelings, rendered him reserved, and 
made him confine his thoughts to his own bqsom, 
for he says, 

" When all was new, and life was in its spring, 
I lived an unloved solitary thing- ; 
E'en then I learn'd to bury deep from day 
The piercing cares that wore rny youth away ; 



1 MEMOIR OF KIRKE WHITE. 

and in a letter to Mr. Maddock, in September., 
1804, he thus spoke of himself: 

" Perhaps it may be that I am not formed for 
friendship, that I expect more than can ever be] 
found. Time will tutor me ; I am a singular J 
being under a common outside : I am a profound! 
dissembler of my inward feelings, and necessity! 
has taught me the art. I am long before I can[ 
unbosom to a friend, yet, I think, I am sincere in 
my friendship: you must not attribute this to anyf 
suspiciousness of nature, but must consider that I 
lived seventeen years my own confidant, my ownf 
friend, full of projects and strange thoughts, andjj 
confiding them to no one. I am habitually reserved, ? 
and habitually cautious in letting it be seen that I* 
hide any thing." 

None knew better than himself that the aspira- 
tions and feelings of which genius is the parent are j 
often found to be inconsistent with felicity : 

" Oh ! hear the plaint by thy sad favourite made, 

His melancholy moan. 
He tells of scorn, he tells of broken vows, 

Of sleepless nights, of anguish-ridden days, 
Pangs that his sensibility uprouse 

To curse his being and his thirst for praise. 
Thou gavest to him with treble force to feel 

The sting of keen neglect, the rich man's scorn ; 
And what o'er all does in his soul preside 

Predominant, and tempers him to steel, 
His high indignant pride. " 

Nor was he unconscious that the toils necessary to 



MEMOIR OF KIRKE WHITE. 11 

I 

secure literary distinction, when endured by a shat- 
tered frame, are in the highest degree severe. How 
much truth and feeling are there in the Lines which 
he wrote after spending a whole night in study, an 
hour when religious impressions force themselves 
with irresistible weight on the exhausted mind : 

'* Oh ! when reflecting on these truths sublime, 

How insignificant do all the joys. 

The gaudes, and honours of the world appear ! 

How vain ambition ! — Why has my wakeful lamp 

Outwatch'd the slow-paced night ? — Why on the page, 

The schoolman's labour'd page, have I employ'd 

The hours devoted by the world to rest, 

And needful to recruit exhausted nature 1 

Say, can the voice of narrow Fame repay 

The loss of health? or can the hope of glory 

Lend a new throb unto my languid heart, 

Cool, even now, my feverish aching brow, 

Relume the fires of this deep-sunken eye, 

Or paint new colours on this pallid cheek 1" 

What a picture of mental suffering does the 
following passage present, and how impressive 
does it become when the fate of the author is re- 
membered : 

" These feverish dews that on my temples hang, 
This quivering lip, these eyes of dying flame ; 
These, the dread signs of many a secret pang — 
These are the meed of him who pants for Fame !" 

Like so many other ardent students, the night was 
his favourite time for reading ; and, dangerous as 
the habit is to health, what student will not agree 
in his description of the pleasures that attend it ? 



Ill MEMOIR OF KIRKE WHITE. 

" The night's my own, they cannot steal mv night ! 
When evening lights her folding star on high, 
I live and breathe; and, in the sacred hour's 
Of quiet and repose, my spirit flies, 
Free as the morning, o'er the realms of space, 
And mounts the skies, and imps her wing for heaven." 
Kirke White's poetry is popular, because it de 
scribes feelings, passions, and associations, which all 
have felt, and with which all can sympathize. It 
is by no means rich in metaphor, nor does it evince 
great powers of imagination; but it is pathetic, 
plaintive, and agreeable; and emanating directly 
from his own heart, it appeals irresistibly to that of 
his reader. His meaning is always clear, and the 
force and vigour of his expressions are remarkable. 
In estimating his poetical powers, however, it should 
be remembered, that nearly all his Poems were 
written before he was nineteen ; and that they are, 
in truth, but the germs of future excellence, and 
ought not to be criticised as if they were the fruits 
of an intellect on which time and education had 
bestowed their advantages. It is, however, in his 
prose works, and especially in his correspondence, 
that the versatility of his talents, his acquirements, 
his piety, and his moral excellence are most con- 
spicuous. 

A question arises with respect to him which, in 
the history of a young Poet, is always interesting, 
but which Mr. Southey has not touched. Abun- 
dance of proof exists in his writings of the suscep- 
tibility of his heart ; but it is not stated that he 



MEMOIR OF KIRKE WHITE. liii 

ever formed an attachment. In many of his 
pieces he speaks with tenderness of a female whom 
he calls Fanny ; and in one of them, from which it 
appears that she was dead, he expresses his regard 
in no equivocal manner ; but there are other 
grounds for concluding that his happiness was 
affected by disappointed affection. To his friend 
Mr. Maddock, in July, 1804, he observed : 

" I shall never, never marry. It cannot, must 

not be. As to affections, mine are already engaged 

; as much as they ever will be, and this is one rea- 

; son why I believe my life will be a life of celibacy. 

I love too ardently to make love innocent, and 

therefore I say farewell to it." 

With this passage one of his Sonnets singularly 
agrees : 

When I sit musing on the chequer'd past 

(A term much darken'd with untimely woes), 
My thoughts revert to her. for whom still flows 

The tear, though half disown'd; and binding fast 

Pride's stubborn cheat to my too yielding heart, 
I say to her, she robb'd me of my rest, 
When that was all my wealth. Tis true my breast 

Received from her this wearying, lingering smart; 

Yet, ah ! I cannot bid her form depart ; 

Though wrong'd, I love her — yet in anger love. 
For she was most unworthy. Then I prove 

Vindictive joy : and on my stern front gleams, 

Throned in dark clouds, inflexible • ■ • 

The native pride of my much injured heart. 

Was the subject of this Sonnet wholly imaginary, 
or was there some unfortunate story which, for 



liv MEMOIR OF KIRKE WHITE. 

sufficient reasons, his biographers have suppressed ? 
It is true that in his letters, written at a much 
later period, he speaks of marriage in a manner not 
to be reconciled with the idea that he was then 
suffering from recollections of that description ; but 
he may, in the interval of two years, have partially 
recovered from his loss. 

Kirke White was buried in the Church of All 
Saints, Cambridge, but no monument was erected 
to him until a liberal minded American, Mr. Francis 
Boot, of Boston, placed a tablet to his memory, 
with a medallion, by Chantrey, with the following 
inscription, by Professor Smyth, one of his nume- 
rous friends : 

" Warm'd with fond hope and learning's sacred flame, 
To Granta's bowers the youthful Poet came ; 
Unconquer'd powers the immortal mind display 'd, 
But worn with anxious thought, the frame decay'd : 
Pale o'er his lamp, and in his cell retired, 
The martyr student faded and expired. 
Oh ! genius, taste, and piety sincere, 
Too early lost 'midst studies too severe ! 
Foremost to mourn, was generous Sou they seen, 
He told the tale, and show'd what White had been, 
Nor told in vain. Far o'er the Atlantic wave 
A wanderer came, and sought the Poet's grave ; 
On yon low stone he saw his lonely name, 
And raised this fond memorial to his fame." 



CLIFTON GROVE. 



DEDICATION. 

To Her Grace the Duchess of Devonshire ', the 
following trifling effusions of a very youthful 
Muse are, by permission, dedicated by her 
Graces much obliged and grateful Servant, 

HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 
Nottingham. 



PREFACE. 

The following attempts in Verse are laid before I 
the Public with extreme diffidence. The Author 
is very conscious that the juvenile efforts of a 
youth, who has not received the polish of Acade- 
mical discipline, and who has been but sparingly 
blessed with opportunities for the prosecution of 
scholastic pursuits, must necessarily be defective 
in the accuracy and finished elegance which mark 
the works of the man who has passed his life in 
the retirement of his study, furnishing his mind 
with images, and at the same time attaining 
the power of disposing those images to the best- 
advantage . 

The unpremeditated effusions of a Boy, from his 
thirteenth year, employed, not in the acquisition 
of literary information, but in the more active 
business of life, must not be expected to exhibit 
any considerable portion of the correctness of a 
Virgil, or the vigorous compression of a Horace. 
Men are not, I believe, frequently known to be- 
stow much labour on their amusements : and these 



PREFACE. lvii 

poems were, most of them, written merely to 
beguile a leisure hour, or to fill up the languid 
intervals of studies of a severer nature. 

Hag to oikuoq spyov ayairacj, "Every one loves 
his own work," says the Stagyrite ; but it was no 
overweening affection of this kind which induced 
this publication. Had the author relied on his 
own judgment only, these Poems would not, in all 
probability, ever have seen the light. 

Perhaps it may be asked of him, what are his 
motives for this publication ? He answers — simply 
these : The facilitation, through its means, of those 
studies which, from his earliest infancy, have been 
the principal objects of his ambition; and the 
increase of the capacity to pursue those inclinations 
which may one day place him in an honourable 
station in the scale of society. 

The principal Poem in this little collection 
(Clifton Grove) is, he fears, deficient in numbers 
and harmonious coherency of parts. It is, how- 
ever, merely to be regarded as a description of a 
nocturnal ramble in that charming retreat, accom- 
panied with such reflections as the scene naturally 
suggested. It was written twelve months ago, 
when the Author was in his sixteenth year : — The 
Miscellanies are some of them the productions of a 
very early age. — Of the Odes, that " To an early 



lviii PREFACE. 

Primrose" was written at thirteen — the others are 
of a later date. — The Sonnets are chiefly irregular ; 
they have, perhaps no other claim to that specific 
denomination, than that they consist only of four- 
teen lines. 

Such are the Poems towards which I entreat 
the lenity of the Public. The Critic will doubtless 
find in them much to condemn ; he may likewise 
possibly discover something to commend. Let him 
scan my faults with an indulgent eye, and in the 
work of that correction which I invite, let him 
remember he is holding the iron Mace of Criticism 
over the flimsy superstructure of a youth of seven- 
teen, and, remembering that, may he forbear from 
crushing, by too much rigour, the painted butterfly 
whose transient colours may otherwise be capable 
of affording a moment's innocent amusement. 

H. K. WHITE. 
Nottingham. 



MISCELLANEOUS POEMS. 



CLIFTON GROVE. 

A SKETCH. 

Lo ! in the west, fast fades the lingering light, 
And day's last vestige takes its silent flight. 
No more is heard the woodman's measured stroke, 
Which with the dawn from yonder dingle broke ; 
No more, hoarse clamouring o'er the uplifted head, 
The crows assembling seek their wind-rock'd bed ; 
Still'd is the village hum — the woodland sounds 
Have ceased to echo o'er the dewy grounds, 
And general silence reigns, save when below 
The murmuring Trent is scarcely heard to flow ; 
And save when, swung by 'nighted rustic late, 
Oft, on its hinge, rebounds the jarring gate ; 
Or when the sheep-bell, in the distant vale, 
Breathes its wild music on the downy gale. 

Now, when the rustic wears the social smile, 
I Released from day and its attendant toil, 
And draws his household round their evening fire, 
And tells the ofttold tales that never tire ; 

B 



'1 THE POEMS OF 

Or, where the town's blue turrets dimly rise, 

And manufacture taints the ambient skies, 

The pale mechanic leaves the labouring loom, 

The air-pent hold, the pestilential room, 

And rushes out, impatient to begin 

The stated course of customary sin : 

Now, now my solitary way I bend 

Where solemn groves in awful state impend : 

And cliffs, that boldly rise above the plain, 

Bespeak, bless'd Clifton ! thy sublime domain. 

Here lonely wandering o'er the sylvan bower, 

I come to pass the meditative hour ; 

To bid awhile the strife of passion cease, 

And woo the calms of solitude and peace. 

And oh ! thou sacred Power, who rear'st on high 

Thy leafy throne where waving poplars sigh ! 

Genius of woodland shades ! whose mild control 

Steals with resistless witchery to the soul, 

Come with thy wonted ardour, and inspire 

My glowing bosom with thy hallow'd tire. 

And thou too, Fancy, from thy starry sphere, 

Where to the hymning orbs thou lend'st thine ear. 

Do thou descend, and bless my ravish'd sight, 

Veil'd in soft visions of serene delight. 

At thy command the gale that passes by 

Bears in its whispers mystic harmony. 

Thou wavest thy wand, and lo ! what forms appear ! 

On the dark cloud what giant shapes career ! 

The ghosts of Ossian skim the misty vale, 

And hosts of sylphids on the moonbeams sail. 



KIRKE WHITE. 

This gloomy alcove darkling to the sight, 
Where meeting trees create eternal night ; 
Save, when from yonder stream the sunny ray, 
Reflected, gives a dubious gleam of day ; 
Recalls, endearing to my alter'd mind, 
Times, when beneath the boxen hedge reclined, 
I watch'd the lapwing to her clamorous brood ; 
Or lured the robin to its scatter'd food ; 
Or woke with song the woodland echo wild, 
And at each gay response delighted smiled. 
How oft, when childhood threw its golden ray 
Of gay romance o'er every happy day, 
Here, would I run, a visionary boy, 
When the hoarse tempest shook the vaulted sky, 
And, fancy -led, beheld the Almighty's form 
Sternly careering on the eddying storm ; 
And heard, while awe congeal'd my inmost soul, 
His voice terrific in the thunders roll. 
With secret joy I view'd with vivid glare 
The vollied lightnings cleave the sullen air ; 
And, as the warring winds around reviled, 
With awful pleasure big,- — I heard and smiled. 
Beloved remembrance ! — Memory which endears 
This silent spot to my advancing years. 
Here dwells eternal peace, eternal rest. 
In shades like these to live is to be bless'd. 
While happiness evades the busy crowd, 
In rural coverts loves the maid to shroud. 
And thou too, Inspiration, whose wild flame 
Shoots with electric swiftness through the frame, 



4 THE POEMS OF 

Thou here dost love to sit with upturn'd eye, 

And listen to the stream that murmurs by, 

The woods that wave, the gray owl's silken flight, 

The mellow music of the listening night. 

Congenial calms more welcome to my breast 

Than maddening joy in dazzling lustre dress'd, 

To Heaven my prayers, my daily prayers I raise, 

That ye may bless my unambitious days, 

Withdrawn, remote, from all the haunts of strife, 

May trace with me the lowly vale of life, 

And when her banner Death shall o'er me wave, 

May keep your peaceful vigils on my grave. 

Now as I rove, where wide the prospect grows, 

A livelier light upon my vision flows. 

No more above the embracing branches meet, 

No more the river gurgles at my feet, 

But seen deep down the cliff's impending side, 

Through hanging woods, now gleams its silver tide. 

Dim is my upland path, — across the green 

Fantastic shadows fling, yet oft between 

The chequer'd glooms the moon her chaste ray sheds, 

Where knots of bluebells droop their graceful heads, 

And beds of violets, blooming 'mid the trees, 

Load with waste fragrance the nocturnal breeze. 

Say, why does Man, while to his opening sight 
Each shrub presents a source of chaste delight, 
And Nature bids for him her treasures flow, 
And gives to him alone his bliss to know, 
Why does he pant for Vice's deadly charms ? 
Why clasp the syren Pleasure to his arms ? 



KIRKE WHITE. 5 

And suck deep draughts of her voluptuous breath, 
Though fraught with ruin, infamy, and death ? 
Could he who thus to vile enjoyment clings 
Know what calm joy from purer sources springs ; 
Could he but feel how sweet, how free from strife, 
The harmless pleasures of a harmless life, 
No more his soul would pant for jo}^s impure, 
The deadly chalice would no more allure, 
But the sweet potion he was wont to sip 
Would turn to poison on his conscious lip. 

Fair Nature ! thee, in all thy varied charms, 
Fain would I clasp for ever in my arms ! 
Thine are the sweets which never, never sate, 
Thine still remain through all the storms of fate. 
Though not for me, 'twas Heaven's divine command 
To roll in acres of paternal land, 
Yet still my lot is bless'd, while I enjoy 
Thine opening beauties with a lover's eye. 

Happy is he, who, though the cup of bliss 
Has ever shunn'd him when he thought to kiss, 
Who, still in abject poverty or pain, 
Can count with pleasure what small joys remain : 
Though were his sight convey'd from zone to zone, 
He would not find one spot of ground his own, 
Yet, as he looks around, he cries with glee, 
These bounding prospects all were made for me : 
For me yon waving fields their burden bear, 
For me yon labourer guides the shining share, 



O THE POEMS OF 

While happy I in idle ease recline, 

And mark the glorious visions as they shine. 

This is the charm, by sages often told, 

Converting all it touches into gold. 

Content can soothe where'er by fortune placed, 

Can rear a garden in the desert waste. 

How lovely, from this hill's superior height, 
Spreads the wide view before my straining sight ! 
O'er many a varied mile of lengthening ground, 
E'en to the blue-ridged hill's remotest bound, 
My ken is borne ; while o'er my head serene 
The silver moon illumes the misty scene : 
Now shining clear, now darkening in the glade, 
In all the soft varieties of shade. 

Behind me, lo ! the peaceful hamlet lies, 
The drowsy god has seal'd the cotter's eyes. 
No more, where late the social faggot blazed, 
The vacant peal resounds, by little raised ; 
But lock'd in silence, o'er Arion's * star 
The slumbering Night rolls on her velvet car : 
The church bell tolls, deep sounding down the glade, 
The solemn hour for walking spectres made ; 
The simple ploughboy, w T akening with the sound, 
Listens aghast, and turns him startled round, 
Then stops his ears, and strives to close his eyes, 
Lest at the sound some grisly ghost should rise. 

* The constellation Delphinus. For authority for this 
appellation, see Ovid's Fasti, B. xi. 113. 



KIRKE WHITE. / 

Now ceased the long, the monitory toll. 

Returning silence stagnates in the soul ; 

Save when, disturb'd by dreams, with wild affright. 

The deep mouth'd mastiff bays the troubled night : 

Or where the village alehouse crowns the vale. 

The creaking signpost whistles to the gale. 

A little onward let me bend my way, 

Where the moss'd seat invites the traveller's stay. 

That spot, oh ! yet it is the very same ; 

That hawthorn gives it shade, and gave it name : 

There yet the primrose opes its earliest bloom, 

There yet the violet sheds its first perfume, 

And in the branch that rears above the rest 

The robin unmolested builds its nest. 

'Twas here, when hope, presiding o'er my breast. 

In vivid colours every prospect dress'd : 

Twas here, reclining, I indulged her dreams, 

And lost the hour in visionary schemes. 

Here, as I press once more the ancient seat, 

Why, bland deceiver ! not renew the cheat ! 

Say, can a few short years this change achieve, 

That thy illusions can no more deceive ! 

Time's sombrous tints have every view o'erspread. 

And thou too, gay seducer, art thou fled ? 

Though vain thy promise, and the suit severe. 

Yet thou couldst guile Misfortune of her tear, 

And oft thy smiles across life's gloomy way 

Could throw a gleam of transitory day. 

How gay, in youth, the flattering future seems ; 

How sweet is manhood in the infant's dreams ; 



o THE POEMS OF 

The dire mistake too soon is brought to light, 
And all is buried in redoubled night. 
Yet some can rise superior to the pain, 
And in their breasts the charmer Hope retain ; 
While others, dead to feeling, can survey, 
Unmoved, their fairest prospects fade away : 
But yet a few there be, — too soon o'ercast ! 
Who shrink unhappy from the adverse blast, 
And woo the first bright gleam, which breaks the 

gloom, 
To gild the silent slumbers of the tomb. 
So in these shades the early primrose blows, 
Too soon deceived by suns and melting snows : 
So falls untimely on the desert waste, 
Its blossoms withering in the northern blast. 

Now pass'd whate'er the upland heights display, 

Down the steep cliff I wind my devious way ; 

Oft rousing, as the rustling path I beat, 

The timid hare from its accustom'd seat. 

And oh ! how sweet this walk o'erhung with wood, 

That winds the margin of the solemn flood ! 

What rural objects steal upon the sight ! 

What rising views prolong the calm delight ! 

The brooklet branching from the silver Trent, 

The whispering birch by every zephyr bent, 

The woody island, and the naked mead, 

The lowly hut half hid in groves of reed, 

The rural wicket, and the rural stile, 

And frequent interspersed, the woodman's pile. 



KIRKE WHITE. 9 

Above, below, where'er I turn my eyes, 
Rocks, waters, woods, in grand succession rise. 
High up the cliff the varied groves ascend, 
And mournful larches o'er the wave impend. 
Around, what sounds, what magic sounds arise, 
What glimmering scenes salute my ravish'd eyes ! 
Soft sleep the waters on their pebbly bed, 
The woods wave gently o'er my drooping head. 
And, swelling slow, comes wafted on the wind, 
Lorn Progne's note from distant copse behind. 
Still every rising sound of calm delight 
Stamps but the fearful silence of the night, 
Save when is heard between each dreary rest, 
Discordant from her solitary nest, 
The owl, dull screaming to the wandering moon ; 
Now riding, cloud-wrapp'd, near her highest noon : 
Or when the wild duck, southering, hither rides, 
And plunges sullen in the sounding tides. 

How oft, in this sequester'd spot, when youth 
Gave to each tale the holy force of truth, 
Have I long linger'd, while the milkmaid sung 
The tragic legend, till the woodland rung ! 
That tale, so sad ! which, still to memory dear, 
From its sweet source can call the sacred tear, 
And (lull'd to rest stern Reason's harsh control) 
Steal its soft magic to the passive soul. 
These hallow'd shades, — these trees that woo the 

wind, 
Recall its faintest features to my mind. 



10 THE POEMS OF 

A hundred passing years, with march sublime, 
Have swept beneath the silent wing of time, 
Since, in yon hamlet's solitary shade, 
Reclusely dwelt the far famed Clifton Maid, 
The beauteous Margaret ; for her each swain 
Confess'd in private his peculiar pain, 
In secret sigh'd, a victim to despair, 
Nor dared to hope to win the peerless fair. 
No more the shepherd on the blooming mead 
Attuned to gaiety his artless reed, 
No more entwined the pansied wreath, to deck 
His favourite wether's unpolluted neck, 
But listless, by yon bubbling stream reclined, 
He mix'd his sobbings with the passing wind, 
Bemoan'd his hapless love ; or, boldly bent, 
Far from these smiling fields a rover went, 
O'er distant lands, in search of ease, to roam, 
A self-wilFd exile from his native home. 

Yet not to all the maid express'd disdain ; 

Her Bateman loved, nor loved the youth in vain. 

Full oft, low whispering o'er these arching boughs, 

The echoing vault responded to their vows, 

As here deep hidden from the glare of day, 

Enamour'd oft, they took their secret way. 

Yon bosky dingle, still the rustics name ; 
'Twas there the blushing maid confess'd her flame. 
Down yon green lane they oft were seen to hie, 
When evening slumber'd on the western skv. 



KIRKE WHITE. 11 

That blasted yew, that mouldering walnut bare, 
Each bears mementos of the fated pair. 

One eve, when Autumn loaded every breeze 
With the fallen honours of the mourning trees, 
The maiden waited at the accustomed bower, 
And waited long beyond the appointed hour, 
Yet Bateman came not ; — o'er the woodland drear 
Howling portentous did the winds career ; 
And bleak and dismal on the leafless woods 
The fitful rains rush'd down in sullen floods ; 
The night was dark ; as, now and then, the gale 
Paused for a moment — Margaret listen'd pale ; 
But through the covert to her anxious ear 
No rustling footstep spoke her lover near. [why, 
Strange fears now fill'd her breast, — she knew not 
She sigh'd, and Bateman's name was in each sigh. 
She hears a noise, — 'tis he, — he comes at last, — 
Alas ! 'twas but the gale which hurried past : 
But now she hears a quickening footstep sound. 
Lightly it comes, and nearer does it bound; 
'Tis Bateman's self, — he springs into her arms, 
'Tis he that clasps, and chides her vain alarms. 
" Yet why this silence ? — I have waited long, 
And the cold storm has yell'd the trees among. 
And now thou'rt here my fears are fled — yet speak, 
Why does the salt tear moisten on thy cheek? 
Say, what is wrong?" Now through a parting cloud 
The pale moon peer'd from her tempestuous shroud, 
And Bateman's face was seen ; 'twas deadly white. 
And sorrow seem'd to sicken in his sight. 






12 THE POEMS OF 

" Oh, speak ! my love !" again the maid conjured, 
" Why is thy heart in sullen woe immured ?" 
He raised his head, and thrice essay'd to tell, 
Thrice from his lips the unfinish'd accents fell ; 
When thus at last reluctantly he broke 
His boding silence, and the maid bespoke : 
" Grieve not, my love, but ere the morn advance 
I on these fields must cast my parting glance ; 
For three long years, by cruel fate's command, 
I go to languish in a foreign land. 
Oh, Margaret ! omens dire have met my view, 
Say, when far distant, wilt thou bear me true ? 
Should honours tempt thee, and should riches fee, 
Would st thou forget thine ardent vows to me, 
And on the silken couch of wealth reclined, 
Banish thy faithful Bateman from thy mind ?" 



" Oh ! why," replies the maid, " my faith thus! 

prove, 

Canst thou ! ah, canst thou, then suspect my love ?V 
Hear me, just God ! if from my traitorous heart 
My Bateman's fond remembrance e'er shall part, 
If, when he hail again his native shore, 
He finds his Margaret true to him no more, 
May fiends of hell, and every power of dread, 
Conjoin'd then drag me from my perjured bed, 
And hurl me headlong down these awful steeps, 
To find deserved death in yonder deeps * !" 

* This part of the Trent is commonly called " The Clif- 
ton Deeps." 



KIRKE WHITE. 13 

Thus spake the maid, and from her finger drew 

A golden ring, and broke it quick in two ; 

One half she in her lovely bosom hides, 

The other, trembling, to her love confides. 

" This bind the vow," she said, " this mystic charm 

No future recantation can disarm, 

The right vindictive does the fates involve, 

No tears can move it, no regrets dissolve." 

She ceased. The death-bird gave a dismal cry, 
The river moan'd, the wild gale whistled by, 
And once again the lady of the night 
Behind a heavy cloud withdrew her light. 
Trembling she view'd these portents with dismay ; 
But gently Bateman kiss'd her fears away : 
Yet still he felt conceal'd a secret smart, 
Still melancholy bodings fill'd his heart. 

'When to the distant land the youth was sped, 
A lonely life the moody maiden led. [walk, 

Still would she trace each dear, each well known 
Still by the moonlight to her love would talk, 
And fancy, as she paced among the trees, 
She heard his whispers in the dying breeze. 

'Thus two years glided on in silent grief; 
The third her bosom own'd the kind relief : 
Absence had cool'dher love — the impoverish'd flame 

k Was dwindling fast, when lo ! the tempter came ; 
He ofFer'd wealth, and all the joys of life, 
And the weak maid became another's wife ! 



14 THE POEMS OF 

Six guilty months had mark'd the false one's crime 
When Bateman hail'd once more his native clime. 
Sure of her constancy, elate he came, 
The lovely partner of his soul to claim ; 
Light was his heart, as up the well known way 
Pie bent his steps — and all his thoughts were gay. 
Oh ! who can paint his agonizing throes, 
When on his ear the fatal news arose ! 
Chill'd with amazement, — senseless with the blow. 
He stood a marble monument of woe ; 
Till call'd to all the horrors of despair, 
He smote his brow, and tore his horrent hair ; 
Then rush'd impetuous from the dreadful spot, 
And sought those scenes (by memory ne'er forgot). 
Those scenes, the witness of their growing flame, 
And now like witnesses of Margaret's shame. 
'Twas night — he sought the river's lonely shore, 
And traced again their former wanderings o'er. 
Now on the bank in silent grief he stood, 
And gazed intently on the stealing flood, 
Death in his mien and madness in his eye, 
He watch'd the waters as they murmur'd by ; 
Bade the base murderess triumph o'er his grave- 
Prepared to plunge into the whelming wave. 
Yet still he stood irresolutely bent, 
Religion sternly stay'd his rash intent. 
He knelt. — Cool play'd upon his cheek the wind, 
And fann'd the fever of his maddening mind, 
The willows waved, the stream it sweetly swept. 
The paly moonbeam on its surface slept. 



KIRKE WHITE. 15 

And all was peace ; — he felt the general calm 
O'er his rack'd bosom shed a genial balm : 
When casting far behind his streaming eye, 
He saw the Grove, — in fancy saw her lie, 
His Margaret, lull'd in Germain's * arms to rest, 
And all the demon rose within his breast. 
Convulsive now, he clench'd his trembling hand, 
Cast his dark eye once more upon the land, 
Then, at one spring he spurn'd the yielding bank, 
And in the calm deceitful current sank. 

Sad, on the solitude of night, the sound, 

As in the stream he plunged, was heard around : 

Then all was still — the wave was rough no more ? 

The river swept as sweetly as before ; 

The willows waved, the moonbeams shone serene, 

And peace returning brooded o'er the scene. 

Now, see upon the perjured fair one hang 
Remorse's glooms and never ceasing pang. 
Full well she knew, repentant now too late, 
She soon must bow beneath the stroke of fate. 
But, for the babe she bore beneath her breast, 
The offended God prolong'd her life unbless'd. 
But fast the fleeting moments roll'd away, 
And near and nearer drew the dreaded day ; 
That day foredoom'd to give her child the light, 
And hurl its mother to the shades of night. 
The hour arrived, and from the wretched wife 
The guiltless baby struggled into life. — 

* Germain is the traditionary name of her husband, 



16 THE POEMS OF 

As night drew on, around her bed a band 

Of friends and kindred kindly took their stand; 

In holy prayer they pass'd the creeping time, 

Intent to expiate her awful crime. 

Their prayers were fruitless. — As the midnight came 

A heavy sleep oppress'd each weary frame. 

In vain they strove against the o'erwhelming load, 

Some power unseen their drowsy lids bestrode. 

They slept till in the blushing eastern sky 

The blooming Morning oped her dewy eye ; 

Then wakening wide they sought the ravish'd bed, 

But lo ! the hapless Margaret was fled ; 

And never more the weeping train were doom'd 

To view the false one, in the deeps in tomb' d. 

The neighbouring rustics told that in the night 
They heard such screams as froze them with affright ; 
And many an infant, at its mother's breast, 
Started dismay'd, from its unthinking rest. 
And even now, upon the heath forlorn, 
They show the path down which the fair was borne, 
By the fell demons, to the yawning wave, 
Her own, and murder'd lover's, mutual grave. 

Such is the tale, so sad, to memory dear, 
Which oft in youth has charm'd my listening ear, 
That tale, which bade me find redoubled sweets 
In the drear silence of these dark retreats ; 
And even now, with melancholy power, 
Adds a new pleasure to the lonely hour. 



KIRKE WHITE. 17 

'Mid all the charms by magic Nature given 
To this wild spot, this sublunary heaven, 
With double joy enthusiast Fancy leans 
On the attendant legend of the scenes. 
This sheds a fairy lustre on the floods, 
And breathes a mellower gloom upon the woods ; 
This, as the distant cataract swells around, 
Gives a romantic cadence to the sound ; 
This, and the deepening glen, the alley green, 
The silver stream, with sedgy tufts between, 
The massy rock, the wood-encompass'd leas, 
The broom-clad islands, and the nodding trees, 
The lengthening vista, and the present gloom, 
The verdant pathway breathing waste perfume : 
These are thy charms, the joys which these impart 
Bind thee, bless'd Clifton ! close around my heart. 

Dear Native Grove ! where'er my devious track, 
To thee will Memory lead the wanderer back. 
Whether in Arno's polish'd vales I stray, 
Or where " Oswego's swamps" obstruct the day ; 
Or wander lone, where, wildering and wide, 
The tumbling torrent laves St. Gothard's side ; 
Or by old Tejo's classic margent muse, 
Or stand entranced with Pyrenean views ; 
Still, still to thee, where'er my footsteps roam, 
My heart shall point, and lead the wanderer home. 
When Splendour offers, and when Fame incites, 
I'll pause, and think of all thy dear delights, 

c 



18 THE POEMS OF 

Reject the boon, and, wearied with the change, 
Renounce the wish which first induced to range ; 
Turn to these scenes, these well known scenes once 

more, 
Trace once again old Trent's romantic shore, 
And tired with worlds, and all their busy ways, 
Here waste the little remnant of my days. 
But if the Fates should this last wish deny, 
And doom me on some foreign shore to die ; 
Oh ! should it please the world's supernal King, 
That weltering waves my funeral dirge shall sing ; 
Or that my corse should, on some desert strand, 
Lie stretch'd beneath the Simoom's blasting hand ; 
Still, though unwept I find a stranger tomb, 
My sprite shall wander through this favourite gloom, 
Ride on the wind that sweeps the leafless grove, 
Sigh on the wood-blast of the dark alcove, 
Sit a lorn spectre on yon well known grave, 
And mix its moanings with the desert wave. 



KIRKE WHITE. 19 

TIME,* 

A POEM. 

Genius of musings, who, the midnight hour 
Wasting in woods or haunted forests wild, 
Dost watch Orion in his arctic tower, 
Thy dark eye fix'd as in some holy trance ; 
Or when the vollied lightnings cleave the air, 
And Ruin gaunt bestrides the winged storm, 
Sitt'st in some lonely watchtower, where thy lamp. 
Faint blazing, strikes the fisher's eye from far, 
And, mid the howl of elements, unmoved, 
Dost ponder on the awful scene, and trace 
The vast effect to its superior source, — 
Spirit, attend my lowly benison ! 
For now I strike to themes of import high 
The solitary lyre ; and, borne by thee 
Above this narrow cell, I celebrate 
The mysteries of Time ! 

Him who, august, 
Was ere these worlds were fashion'd, — ere the sun 
Sprang from the east, or Lucifer display'd 
His glowing cresset in the arch of morn, 
Or Vesper gilded the serener eve. 

* This Poem was begun either during the publication of 
Clifton Grove, or shortly afterwards, but never completed : 
some of the detached parts were among his latest produc- 
tions. 



20 THE POEMS OF 

Yea, He had been for an eternity ! 

Had swept unvarying from eternity 

The harp of desolation — ere his tones, 

At God's command, assumed a milder strain, 

And startled on his watch, in the vast deep, 

Chaos's sluggish sentry, and evoked 

From the dark void the smiling universe. 

Chain'd to the groveling frailties of the flesh, 

Mere mortal man, unpurged from earthly dross, 

Cannot survey, with fix'd and steady eye, 

The dim uncertain gulf, which now the muse, 

Adventurous, would explore ; but dizzy grown, 

He topples down the abyss. — If he would scan 

The fearful chasm, and catch a transient glimpse 

Of its unfathomable depths, that so 

His mind may turn with double joy to God, 

His only certainty and resting place ; 

He must put off awhile this mortal vest, 

And learn to follow, without giddiness, 

To heights where all is vision, and surprise, 

And vague conjecture. — He must waste by night 

The studious taper, far from all resort 

Of crowds and folly, in some still retreat ; 

High on the beetling promontory's crest, 

Or in the caves of the vast wilderness, [shapes, 

Where, compass'd round with Nature's wildest 

He may be driven to centre all his thoughts 

In the great Architect, who lives confess'd 

In rocks, and seas, and solitary wastes. 



KIRKE WHITE. 21 

So has divine Philosophy, with voice 

Mild as the murmurs of the moonlight wave, 

Tutor'd the heart of him, who now awakes, 

Touching the chords of solemn minstrelsy, 

His faint, neglected song — intent to snatch 

Some vagrant blossom from the dangerous steep 

Of poesy, a bloom of such a hue, 

So sober, as may not unseemly suit 

With Truth's severer brow ; and one withal 

So hardy as shall brave the passing w T ind 

Of many winters, — rearing its meek head 

In loveliness, w r hen he who gather'd it 

Is number'd with the generations gone. 

Yet not to me hath God's good providence 

Given studious leisure,* or unbroken thought, 

Such as he owns, — a meditative man ; 

Who from the blush of morn to quiet eve 

Ponders, or turns the page of wisdom o'er, 

Far from the busy crowd's tumultuous din : 

From noise and wrangling far, and undisturb'd 

With Mirth's unholy shouts. For me the day 

Hath duties which require the vigorous hand 

Of steadfast application, but which leave 

No deep improving trace upon the mind. 

But be the day another's ; — let it pass ! 

The night's my own ! — They cannot steal my night ! 

WTien evening lights her folding star on high, 

I live and breathe ; and in the sacred hours 

Of quiet and repose my spirit flies, 

* The Author was then in an attorney's office. 



22 THE POEMS OF 

Free as the morning, o'er the realms of space, 
And mounts the skies, and imps her wing for 
Heaven. 

Hence do I love the sober-suited maid ; 
Hence Night's my friend, my mistress, and my theme, 
And she shall aid me now to magnify 
The night of ages, — now when the pale ray 
Of starlight penetrates the studious gloom, 
And, at my window seated, while mankind 
Are lock'd in sleep, I feel the freshening breeze 
Of stillness blow, while, in her saddest stole, 
Thought, like a wakeful vestal at her shrine, 
Assumes her wonted sway. 

Behold the world 
Rests, and her tired inhabitants have paused 
From trouble and turmoil. The widow now 
Has ceased to weep, and her twin orphans lie 
Lock'd in each arm, partakers of her rest. 
The man of sorrow has forgot his woes ; 
The outcast that his head is shelterless, 
His griefs unshared. — The mother tends no more 
Her daughter's dying slumbers, but surprised 
With heaviness, and sunk upon her couch, 
Dreams of her bridals. Even the hectic, lull'd 
On Death's lean arm to rest, in visions wrapp'd, 
Crowning with Hope's bland wreath his shuddering 

nurse, 
Poor victim ! smiles. — Silence and deep repose 
Reign o'er the nations ; and the warning voice 



KIRKE WHITE. 23 

Of Nature utters audibly within 

The general moral : — tells us that repose, 

Deathlike as this, but of far longer span, 

Is coming on us — that the weary crowds, 

Who now enjoy a temporary calm, 

Shall soon taste lasting quiet, wrapp'd around 

With grave clothes : and their aching restless heads 

Mouldering in holes and corners unobserved, 

Till the last trump shall break their sullen sleep. 

Who needs a teacher to admonish him 

That flesh is grass, that earthly things are mist ? 

What are our joys but dreams? and what our hopes 

But goodly shadows in the summer cloud ? 

There's not a wind that blows but bears with it 

Some rainbow promise : — Not a moment flies 

But puts its sickle in the fields of life, 

And mows its thousands, with their joys and cares. 

'Tis but as yesterday since on yon stars, 

Which now I view, the Chaldee shepherd* gazed 

In his mid watch observant, and disposed 

The twinkling hosts as fancy gave them shape. 

Yet in the interim what mighty shocks 

Have buffeted mankind— whole nations razed — 

Cities made desolate — the polish'd sunk 

To barbarism, and once barbaric states 

Swaying the wand of science and of arts ; 

Illustrious deeds and memorable names 

* Alluding to the first astronomical observations made by 
the Chaldean shepherds. 



24 THE POEMS OF 

Blotted from record, and upon the tongue 
Of gray Tradition, voluble no more. 

Where are the heroes of the ages past ? 

Where the brave chieftains, where the mighty ones 

Who flourish'd in the infancy of days ? 

All to the grave gone down. On their fallen fame 

Exultant, mocking at the pride of man, 

Sits grim Forgetfulness. — The warrior's arm 

Lies nerveless on the pillow of its shame ; 

Hush'd is his stormy voice, and quench'd the blaze 

Of his red eyeball. — Yesterday his name 

W T as mighty on the earth. — To-day — 'tis what? 

The meteor of the night of distant years, 

That flash'd unnoticed, save by wrinkled eld, 

Musing at midnight upon prophecies, 

Who at her lonely lattice saw the gleam 

Point to the mist-poised shroud, then quietly 

Closed her pale lips, and lock'd the secret up 

Safe in the charnel's treasures. 

Oh how weak 
Is mortal man ! how trifling — how confined 
His scope of vision ! PufFd with confidence, 
His phrase grows big with immortality, 
And he, poor insect of a summer's day ! 
Dreams of eternal honours to his name ; 
Of endless glory and perennial bays. 
He idly reasons of eternity, 
As of the train of ages, — when, alas ! 
Ten thousand thousand of his centuries 



KIRKE WHITE. 25 

Are, in comparison, a little point 

Too trivial for account. — O, it is strange, 

'Tis passing strange, to mark his fallacies ; 

Behold him proudly view some pompous pile, 

Whose high dome swells to emulate the skies, 

And smile, and say, My name shall live with this 

Till time shall be no more ; while at his feet, 

Yea, at his very feet, the crumbling dust 

Of the fallen fabric of the other day 

Preaches the solemn lesson. — He should know 

That time must conquer ; that the loudest blast 

That ever fill'd Renown's obstreperous trump 

Fades in the lapse of ages, and expires. 

Who lies inhumed in the terrific gloom 

Of the gigantic pyramid ? or who 

Rear'd its huge walls ? Oblivion laughs, and says, 

The prey is mine. — They sleep, and never more 

Their names shall strike upon the ear of man, 

Their memory burst its fetters. 

Where is Rome ? 
She lives but in the tale of other times ; 
Her proud pavilions are the hermit's home, 
And her long colonnades, her public walks, 
Now faintly echo to the pilgrim's feet, 
Who comes to muse in solitude, and trace, 
Through the rank moss reveal'd, her honour'd dust. 
But not to Rome alone has fate confined 
The doom of ruin ; cities numberless, 
Tyre, Sidon, Carthage, Babylon, and Troy, 
And rich Phoenicia — they are blotted out, 
Half razed from memory, and their very name 



26 THE POEMS OF 

And being in dispute — Has Athens fallen ? 
Is polish'd Greece become the savage seat 
Of ignorance and sloth ? and shall we dare 



And empire seeks another hemisphere. 
Where now is Britain? — Where her laurel'd names, 
Her palaces and halls ? Dash'd in the dust. 
Some second Vandal hath reduced her pride, 
And with one big recoil hath thrown her back 

To primitive barbarity. Again, 

Through her depopulated vales, the scream 

Of bloody Superstition hollow rings, 

And the scared native to the tempest howls 

The yell of deprecation. O'er her marts, 

Her crowded ports, broods Silence ; and the cry 

Of the low curlew, and the pensive dash 

Of distant billows, breaks alone the void; 

Even as the savage sits upon the stone 

That marks where stood her capitols, and hears 

The bittern booming in the weeds, he shrinks 

From the dismaying solitude. — Her bards 

Sing in a language that hath perished; 

And their wild harps suspended o'er their graves, 

Sigh to the desert winds a dying strain. 

Meanwhile the Arts, in second infancy, 

Rise in some distant clime, and then, perchance. 

Some bold adventurer, fill'd with golden dreams, 



KIRKE WHITE. 27 

Steering his bark through trackless solitudes, 

Where, to his wandering thoughts, no daring prow 

Hath ever plough'd before, — espies the cliffs 

Of fallen Albion. — To the land unknown 

He journeys joyful ; and perhaps descries 

Some vestige of her ancient stateliness : 

Then he, with vain conjecture, fills his mind 

Of the unheard-of race, which had arrived 

At science in that solitary nook, 

Far from the civil world ; and sagely sighs, 

And moralizes on the state of man. 

Still on its march, unnoticed and unfelt, 

Moves on our being. We do live and breathe, 

And we are gone. The spoiler heeds us not. 

We have our springtime and our rottenness ; 

And as we fall, another race succeeds, 

To perish likewise. — Meanwhile Nature smiles — 

The seasons run their round — The Sun fulfils 

His annual course — and heaven and earth remain 

Still changing, yet unchanged — still doom'd to feel 

Endless mutation in perpetual rest. 

Where are conceal' d the days which have elapsed? 

Hid in the mighty cavern of the past, 

They rise upon us only to appal, 

By indistinct and half-glimpsed images, 

Misty, gigantic, huge, obscure, remote. 

Oh, it is fearful, on the midnight couch, 
When the rude rushing winds forget to rave, 



28 THE POEMS OF 

And the pale moon, that through the casement high 

Surveys the sleepless muser, stamps the hour 

Of utter silence, it is fearful then 

To steer the mind, in deadly solitude, 

Up the vague stream of probability ; 

To wind the mighty secrets of the past, 

And turn the key of time ! — Oh ! who can strive 

To comprehend the vast, the awful truth, 

Of the eternity that hath gone by, 

And not recoil from the dismaying sense 

Of human impotence ? The life of man 

Is summ'd in birthdays and in sepulchres ; 

But the Eternal God had no beginning ; 

He hath no end. Time had been with him 

For everlasting, ere the daedal world 

Rose from the gulf in loveliness. — Like him 

It knew no source, like him 'twas uncreate. 

What is it then ? The past Eternity ! 

We comprehend a future without end ; 

We feel it possible that even yon sun 

May roll for ever : but we shrink amazed — 

We stand aghast, when we reflect that time 

Knew no commencement. — That heap age on age, 

And million upon million, without end, 

And we shall never span the void of days 

That were and are not but in retrospect. 

The Past is an unfathomable depth, 

Beyond the span of thought ; 'tis an elapse 

Which hath no mensuration, but hath been 

For ever and for ever. 



KIRKE WHITE. 29 

Change of days 
To us is sensible ; and each revolve 
Of the recording sun conducts us on 
Further in life, and nearer to our goal. 
Not so with Time, — mysterious chronicler, 
He knoweth not mutation ; — centuries 
Are to his being as a day, and days 
As centuries. — Time past, and Time to come, 
Are always equal ; when the world began 
God had existed from eternity. 



Now look on man 
Myriads of ages hence. — Hath time elapsed ? 
Is he not standing in the selfsame place 
Where once we stood? — The same eternity 
Hath gone before him, and is yet to come ; 
His past is not of longer span than ours, 
Though myriads of ages intervened ; 
f For who can add to what has neither sum, 
Nor bound, nor source, nor estimate, nor end ? 
Oh, who can compass the Almighty mind ? 
Who can unlock the secrets of the high ? 
In speculations of an altitude 
Sublime as this, our reason stands confess'd 
Foolish, and insignificant, and mean. 
Who can apply the futile argument 
Of finite beings to infinity ? 
He might as well compress the universe 
Into the hollow compass of a gourd, 



30 THE POEMS OF 

Scoop'd out by human art ; or bid the whale 

Drink up the sea it swims in ! — Can the less 

Contain the greater ? or the dark obscure 

Infold the glories of meridian day ? 

What does philosophy impart to man 

But undiscovered wonders ? — Let her soar 

Even to her proudest heights — to where she caught 

The soul of Newton and of Socrates, 

She but extends the scope of wild amaze 

And admiration. All her lessons end 

In wider views of God's unfathom'd depths. 

Lo ! the unletter'd hind, who never knew 

To raise his mind excursive to the heights 

Of abstract contemplation, as he sits 

On the green hillock by the hedge-row side, 

What time the insect swarms are murmuring, 

And marks, in silent thought, the broken clouds 

That fringe with loveliest hues the evening sky, 

Feels in his soul the hand of Nature rouse 

The thrill of gratitude, to him who form'd 

The goodly prospect ; he beholds the God 

Throned in the west, and his reposing ear 

Hears sounds angelic in the fitful breeze [ brake'. 

That floats through neighbouring copse or fairy 

Or lingers playful on the haunted stream. 

Go with the cotter to his winter fire, 

Where o'er the moors the loud blast whistles shrill, 

And the hoarse ban-dog bays the icy moon ; 

Mark with what awe he lists the wild uproar, 



KIRKE WHITE. 31 

Silent, and big with thought ; and hear him bless 
The God that rides on the tempestuous clouds, 
For his snug hearth, and all his little joys : 
Hear him compare his happier lot with his 
Who bends his way across the wintry wolds, 
A poor night traveller, while the dismal snow 
Beats in his face, and, dubious of his path, 
He stops, and thinks, in every lengthening blast. 
He hears some village mastiff's distant howl, 
And sees, far streaming, some lone cottage light ; 
Then, undeceived, upturns his streaming eyes, 
And clasps his shivering hands ; or overpower'd, 
Sinks on the frozen ground, weigh'd down with sleep, 
From which the hapless wretch shall never wake. 
Thus the poor rustic warms his heart with praise 
And glowing gratitude, — he turns to bless, 
With honest warmth, his Maker and his God ! 
And shall it e'er be said, that a poor hind, 

1 Nursed in the lap of Ignorance, and bred 

fin want and labour, glows with nobler zeal 
To laud his Maker's attributes, while he 
Whom starry Science in her cradle rock'd, 
And Castaly enchasten'd with its dews, 
Closes his eyes upon the holy word, 

1 And, blind to all but arrogance and pride, 

\Dares to declare his infidelity, 
And openly contemn the Lord of Hosts ? 
What is philosophy, if it impart 
Irreverence for the Deity, or teach 
A mortal man to set his judgment up 



32 THE POEMS OF 

Against his Maker's will ? The Polygar, 

Who kneels to sun or moon, compared with him 

Who thus perverts the talents he enjoys, 

Is the most bless'd of men ! Oh ! I would walk 

A weary journey, to the farthest verge 

Of the big world, to kiss that good man's hand, 

Who, in the blaze of wisdom and of art, 

Preserves a lowly mind ; and to his God, 

Feeling the sense of his own littleness, 

Is as a child in meek simplicity ! 

What is the pomp of learning ? the parade 

Of letters and of tongues ? e'en as the mists 

Of the gray morn before the rising sun, 

That pass away and perish. 

Earthly things 
Are but the transient pageants of an hour ; 
And earthly pride is like the passing flower, 
That springs to fall, and blossoms but to die. 
'Tis as the tower erected on a cloud, 
Baseless and silly as the schoolboy's dream. 
Ages and epochs that destroy our pride, 
And then record its downfall, what are they 
But the poor creatures of man's teeming brain ? 
Hath Heaven its ages ? or doth Heaven preserve 
Its stated eras ? Doth the Omnipotent 
Hear of to-morrows or of yesterdays ? 
There is to God nor future nor a past ; 
Throned in his might, all times to him are present ; 
He hath no lapse, no past, no time to come ; 
He sees before him one eternal now. 



KIRKE WHITE. 33 

Time moveth not ! — our being 'tis that moves ; 
x\nd we, swift gliding down life's rapid stream, 
Dream of swift ages and revolving years, 
Ordain'd to chronicle our passing days : 
So the young sailor in the gallant bark, 
Scudding before the wind, beholds the coast 
Receding from his eyes, and thinks the while, 
Struck with amaze, that he is motionless, 
And that the land is sailing. 

Such, alas ! 
Are the illusions of this proteus life ! 
All, all is false : through every phasis still 
Tis shadowy and deceitful. It assumes 
The semblances of things and specious shapes ; 
But the lost traveller might as soon rely 
On the evasive spirit of the marsh, 
Whose lantern beams, and vanishes, and flits, 
O'er bog, and rock, and pit, and hollow way. 
As we on its appearances. 

On earth 
There is nor certainty nor stable hope. 
As w r ell the weary mariner, whose bark 
Is toss'd beyond Cimmerian Bosphorus, 
Where storm and darkness hold their drear domain. 
And sunbeams never penetrate, might trust 
To expectation of serener skies, 
And linger in the very jaws of death, 
Because some peevish cloud were opening. 
Or the loud storm had bated in its rage ; 
As we look forward in this vale of tears 



34 THE POEMS OF 

To permanent delight — from some slight glimpse 
Of shadowy, unsubstantial happiness. 

The good man's hope is laid far, far beyond 

The sway of tempests, or the furious sweep 

Of mortal desolation. — He beholds 

Unapprehensive, the gigantic stride 

Of rampant Ruin, or the unstable waves 

Of dark Vicissitude. — Even in death, — 

In that dread hour, when, with a giant pang, 

Tearing the tender fibres of the heart, 

The immortal spirit struggles to be free, 

Then, even then, that hope forsakes him not, 

For it exists beyond the narrow verge 

Of the cold sepulchre. The petty joys 

Of fleeting life indignantly it spurn'd, 

And rested on the bosom of its God. 

This is man's only reasonable hope ; 

And 'tis a hope which, cherish'd in the breast, 

Shall not be disappointed. Even he, 

The Holy One — Almighty — who elanced 

The rolling world along its airy way, 

Even He will deign to smile upon the good, 

And welcome him to these celestial seats, 

Where joy and gladness hold their changeless reign. 

Thou, proud man, look upon yon starry vault, 
Survey the countless gems which richly stud 
The Night's imperial chariot ; — Telescopes 
Will show thee myriads more innumerous 



KIRKE WHITE. 35 

Than the sea sand ; — each of those little lamps 

Is the great source of light, the central sun 

Round which some other mighty sisterhood 

Of planets travel, every planet stock'd 

With living beings impotent as thee. 

Now, proud man ! now, where is thy greatness fled? 

What art thou in the scale of universe f 

Less, less than nothing ! — Yet of thee the God 

Who built this wondrous frame of worlds is careful, 

As well as of the mendicant who begs 

The leavings of thy table. And shalt thou 

Lift up thy thankless spirit, and contemn 

His heavenly providence ! Deluded fool, 

Even now the thunderbolt is wing'd with death, 

Even now thou totterest on the brink of hell. 

How insignificant is mortal man, 
Bound to the hasty pinions of an hour ! 
How poor, how trivial in the vast conceit 
Of infinite duration, boundless space ! 
God of the universe ! Almighty One ! 
Thou who dost walk upon the winged winds, 
Or with the storm, thy rugged charioteer, 
Swift and impetuous as the northern blast, 
Ridest from pole to pole ; Thou who dost hold 
The forked lightnings in thine awful grasp, 
And reignest in the earthquake, when thy wrath 
Goes down towards erring man, I would address 
To thee my parting psean ; for of Thee, 
Great beyond comprehension, who thyself 



36 THE POEMS OF 

Art Time and Space, sublime Infinitude, 

Of Thee has been my song ! — With awe I kneel 

Trembling before the footstool of thy state, 

My God ! my Father ! — I will sing to thee 

A hymn of laud, a solemn canticle, 

Ere on the cypress wreath, which overshades 

The throne of Death, I hang my mournful lyre, 

And give its wild strings to the desert gale. 

Rise, Son of Salem ! rise, and join the strain, 

Sweep to accordant tones thy tuneful harp, 

And, leaving vain laments, arouse thy soul 

To exultation. Sing hosanna, sing, 

And halleluiah, for the Lord is great, 

And full of mercy ! He has thought of man ; 

Yea, compass'd round with countless worlds, has 

thought 
Of us poor worms, that batten in the dews 
Of morn, and perish ere the noonday sun. 
Sing to the Lord, for he is merciful : 
He gave the Nubian lion but to live, 
To rage its hour, and perish ; but on man 
He lavish'd immortality and Heaven. 
The eagle falls from her aerial tower, 
And mingles with irrevocable dust : 
But man from death springs joyful, 
Springs up to life and to eternity. 
Oh, that, insensate of the favouring boon, 
The great exclusive privilege bestow'd 
On us unworthy "trifles, men should dare 
To treat with slight regard the proffer'd Heaven, 



KIRKE WHITE. 37 

And urge the lenient, but All-Just, to swear 

In wrath, " They shall not enter in my rest." 

Might I address the supplicative strain 

To thy high footstool, I would pray that thou 

Wouldst pity the deluded wanderers, 

And fold them, ere they perish, in thy flock. 

Yea, I would bid thee pity them, through Him, 

Thy well beloved, who, upon the cross, 

Bled a dread sacrifice for human sin, 

And paid, with bitter agony, the debt 

Of primitive transgression. 

Oh ! I shrink, 
My very soul doth shrink, when I reflect 
That the time hastens, when, in vengeance clothed, 
Thou shalt come down to stamp the seal of fate 
On erring mortal man. Thy chariot wheels 
Then shall rebound to earth's remotest caves, 
And stormy Ocean from his bed shall start 
At the appalling summons. Oh ! how dread, 
On the dark eye of miserable man, 
Chasing his sins in secrecy and gloom, 
Will burst the effulgence of the opening Heaven ; 
When to the brazen trumpet's deafening roar 
Thou and thy dazzling cohorts shall descend, 
Proclaiming the fulfilment of the word ! 
The dead shall start astonish'd from their sleep ! 
The sepulchres shall groan and yield their prey, 
The bellowing floods shall disembogue their charge 
Of human victims. From the farthest nook 
Of the wide world shall troop the risen souls, 
From him whose bones are bleaching in the waste 



38 THE POEMS OF 

Of polar solitudes, or him whose corpse, 

Whelm'd in the loud Atlantic's vexed tides, 

Is wash'd on some Carribean prominence, 

To the lone tenant of some secret cell 

In the Pacific's vast .... realm, 

Where never plummet's sound was heard to part 

The wilderness of water ; they shall come 

To greet the solemn advent of the Judge. 

Thou first shalt summon the elected saints 

To their apportion'd Heaven ! and thy Son, 

At thy right hand, shall smile with conscious joy 

On all his past distresses, when for them 

He bore humanity's severest pangs. 

Then shalt thou seize the avenging scimitar, 

And, with a roar as loud and horrible 

As the stern earthquake's monitory voice, 

The wicked shall be driven to their abode, 

Down the immitigable gulf, to wail 

And gnash their teeth in endless agony. 



Rear thou aloft thy standard. — Spirit, rear 

Thy flag on high ! — Invincible, and throned 

In unparticipated might. Behold 

Earth's proudest boasts, beneath thy silent sway. 

Sweep headlong to destruction, thou the while, 

Unmoved and heedless, thou dost hear the rush 

Of mighty generations, as they pass 

To the broad gulf of ruin, and dost stamp 

Thv signet on them, and thev rise no more. 

Who shall contend with Time — unvanquish'd Time, 



KinivE WHITE. 39 

The conqueror of conquerors, and lord 
Of desolation ? — Lo ! the shadows fly, 
The hours and days, and years and centuries, 
They fly, they fly, and nations rise and fall, 
The young are old, the old are in their graves* 
Heard'st thou that shout ? It rent the vaulted skies ; 
It was the voice of people, — mighty crowds, — 
Again ! 'tis hush'd — Time speaks, and all is hush'd; 
In the vast multitude now reigns alone 
Unruffled solitude. They all are still ; 
All — yea, the whole — the incalculable mass, 
Still as the ground that clasps their cold remains. 

Rear thou aloft thy standard. — Spirit, rear 
Thy flag on high, and glory in thy strength. 
But do thou know the season yet shall come, 
When from its base thine adamantine throne 
Shall tumble ; when thine arm shall cease to strike, 
Thy voice forget its petrifying power ; 
When saints shall shout, and Time shall be no more. 
Yea, he doth come — the mighty champion comes, 
Whose potent spear shall give thee thy death wound, 
Shall crush the conqueror of conquerors, 
And desolate stern Desolation's lord. 
Lo ! where he cometh ! the Messiah comes ! 
The King! the Comforter! the Christ! — He comes 
To burst the bonds of Death, and overturn 
The power of Time. — Hark ! the trumpet's blast 
Rings o'er the heavens ! They rise, the myriads 
rise — 



40 THE POEMS OF 

Even from their graves they spring, and burst the 

chains 
Of torpor, — He has ransom'd them, . . . 

Forgotten generations live again, 
Assume the bodily shapes they own'd of old. 
Beyond the flood : — the righteous of their times 
Embrace and weep, they weep the tears of joy. 
The sainted mother wakes, and in her lap 
Clasps her dear babe, the partner of her grave, 
And heritor with her of Heaven, — a flower 
Wash'd by the blood of Jesus from the stain 
Of native guilt, even in its early bud. 
And, hark ! those strains, how solemnly serene 
They fall, as from the skies — at distance fall — 
Again more loud — the halleluiahs swell ; 
The newly risen catch the joyful sound ; 
They glow, they burn ; and now with one accord 
Bursts forth sublime from every mouth the song 
Of praise to God on high, and to the Lamb 
Who bled for mortals. 



Yet there is peace for man. — Yea, there is peace 
Even in this noisy, this unsettled scene ; 
When from the crowd, and from the city far, 
Haply he may be set (in his late walk 
O'ertaken with deep thought) beneath the boughs 
Of honeysuckle, when the sun is gone, 
And with fix'd eye, and wistful, he surveys 



KIRKE WHITE. 41 

The solemn shadows of the Heavens sail, 
And thinks the season yet shall come, when Time 
Will waft him to repose, to deep repose, 
Far from the unquietness of life — from noise 
And tumult far — beyond the flying clouds, 
Beyond the stars, and all this passing scene, 
Where change shall cease, and Time shall be no 
more. 



CHILDHOOD* 

A POEM. 



PART I. 

Pictured in memory's mellowing glass, how sweet 
Our infant days, our infant joys, to greet ; 
To roam in fancy in each cherish'd scene, 
The village churchyard, and the village green, 
The woodland walk remote, the greenwood glade, 
The mossy seat beneath the hawthorn shade, 
The whitewashed cottage, where the woodbine grew, 
And all the favourite haunts our childhood knew ! 
How sweet, while all the evil shuns the gaze, 
To view the unclouded skies of former days ! 

* This appears to be one of the Author's earliest produc- 
tions: written when about the age of fourteen. 



42 THE POEMS OF 

Beloved age of innocence and smiles, 
When each wing'd hour some new delight beguiles. 
When the gay heart, to life's sweet dayspring true, 
Still finds some insect pleasure to pursue. 
Bless'd Childhood, hail ! — Thee simply will I sing, 
And from myself the artless picture bring ; 
These long-lost scenes to me the past restore, 
Each humble friend, each pleasure now no more, 
And every stump familiar to my sight 
Recalls some fond idea of delight. 

This shrubby knoll was once my favourite seat ; 
Here did I love at evening to retreat, 
And muse alone, till in the vault of night, 
Hesper, aspiring, show'd his golden light. 
Here once again, remote from human noise, 
I sit me down to think of former joys ; [more, 

Pause on each scene, each treasured scene, once 
And once again each infant walk explore, 
While as each grove and lawn I recognise, 
My melted soul suffuses in my eyes. 

And oh ! thou Power, whose myriad trains resort 
To distant scenes, and picture them to thought ; 
Wliose mirror, held unto the mourner's eye, 
Flings to his soul a borrow'd gleam of joy ; 
Bless'd Memory, guide, with finger nicely true, 
Back to my youth my retrospective view ; 
Recall with faithful vigour to my mind 
Each face familiar, each relation kind ; 
And all the finer traits of them afford, 
W T hose general outline in my heart is stored. 



KIRKE WHITE. 4o 

In yonder cot, along whose mouldering- walls 
In many a fold the mantling woodbine falls, 
The village matron kept her little school, 
Gentle of heart, yet knowing well to rule ; 
Staid was the dame, and modest was her mien ; 
Her garb was coarse, yet whole, and nicely clean ; 
Her neatly border'd cap, as lily fair, 
Beneath her chin was pinn'd with decent care ; 
And pendent ruffles, of the whitest lawn, 
Of ancient make, her elbows did adorn. 
Faint with old age, and dim were grown her eyes, 
A pair of spectacles their want supplies ; 
These does she guard secure, in leathern case, 
From thoughtless wights, in some unweeted place. 

Here first I enter'd, though with toil and pain, 
The low vestibule of learning's fane ; 
Enter'd with pain, yet soon I found the way, 
Though sometimes toilsome, many a sweet display. 
Much did I grieve on that ill fated morn 
When I was first to school reluctant borne ; 
Severe I thought the dame, though oft she tried 
To soothe my swelling spirits when I sigh'd ; 
And oft, when harshly she reproved, I wept r 
To my lone corner broken-hearted crept, [kept. 
And thought of tender home, where anger never 

But soon inured to alphabetic toils, 
Alert I met the dame with jocund smiles ; 
First at the form, my task for ever true, 
A little favourite rapidly I grew : 
And oft she stroked my head with fond delight, 
Held me a pattern to the dunce's sight ; 



44 THE POEMS OF 

And as she gave my diligence its praise, 
Talk'd of the honours of my future days. 

Oh ! had the venerable matron thought 
Of all the ills by talent often brought ; 
Could she have seen me when revolving years 
Had brought me deeper in the vale of tears, 
Then had she wept, and wished my wayward fate 
Had been a lowlier, an unletter'd state ; 
Wish'd that, remote from worldly woes and strife, 
Unknown, unheard, I might have pass'd through 
life. 

Where in the busy scene, by peace unbless'd, 
Shall the poor wanderer find a place of rest ? 
A lonely mariner on the stormy main, 
Without a hope the calms of peace to gain ;^ 
Long toss'd by tempests o'er the world's wide shore, 
When shall his spirit rest to toil no more ? 
Not till the light foam of the sea shall lave 
The sandy surface of his unwept grave. 
Childhood, to thee I turn, from life's alarms, 
Serenest season of perpetual calms, — 
Turn with delight, and bid the passions cease, — 
And joy to think with thee I tasted peace. 
Sweet reign of innocence, when no crime defiles, 
But each new object brings attendant smiles ; 
When future evils never haunt the sight, 
But all is pregnant with unmix'd delight ; 
To thee I turn from riot and from noise, 
Turn to partake of more congenial joys. 

'Neath yonder elm, that stands upon the moor, 
When the clock spoke the hour of labour o'er, 



KIRKE WHITE. 45 

What clamorous throngs, what happy groups were 
In various postures scattering o'er the green ! [seen, 
Some shoot the marble, others join the chase 
Of self-made stag, or run the emulous race ; 
While others, seated on the dappled grass, 
With doleful tales the light- wing'd minutes pass. 
Well I remember how, with gesture starch'd, 
A band of soldiers oft with pride we march'd ; 
For banners to a tall ash we did bind 
Our handkerchiefs, flapping to the whistling wind ; 
And for our warlike arms we sought the mead, 
And guns and spears we made of brittle reed ; 
Then, in uncouth array, our feats to crown, 
We storm'd some ruin'd pigsty for a town. 

Pleased with our gay disports, the dame was w r ont 
To set her wheel before the cottage front, 
And o'er her spectacles would often peer, 
To view our gambols, and our boyish geer. 
Still as she look'd, her wheel kept turning round, 
With its beloved monotony of sound. 
When tired with play, we'd set us by her side 
(For out of school she never knew to chide), 
And wonder at her skill — well known to fame — 
For who could match in spinning with the dame ? 
Her sheets, her linen, w T hich she show'd with pride 
To strangers, still her thriftness testified ; 
Though we poor wights did wonder much, in troth. 
How 'twas her spinning manufactured cloth. 

Oft would we leave, though well beloved, our 
To chat at home the vacant hour away. [play 



46 THE POEMS OF 

Many's the time I've scamper'd down the glade, 
To ask the promised ditty from the maid, 
Which well she loved, as well she knew to sing, 
While we around her form'd a little ring- : 
She told of innocence foredoom'd to bleed, 
Of wicked guardians bent on bloody deed, 
Or little children murder'd as they slept ; 
While at each pause we wrung our hands and wept. 
Sad was such tale, and wonder much did we 
Such hearts of stone there in the world could be. 
Poor simple wights, ah ! little did we ween 
The ills that wait on man in life's sad scene ! 
Ah, little thought that we ourselves should know 
This world's a world of weeping and of woe ! 
Beloved moment ! then 'twas first I caught 
The first foundation of romantic thought ! 
Then first I shed bold Fancy's thrilling tear, 
Then first that poesy charm'd mine infant ear. 
Soon stored with much of legendary lore, 
The sports of childhood charm'd my soul no more. 
Far from the scene of gaiety and noise, 
Far, far from turbulent and empty joys, 
I hied me to the thick o'erarching shade, 
And there, on mossy carpet, listless laid, 
While at my feet the rippling runnel ran, 
The days of wild romance antique I'd scan ; 
Soar on the wings of fancy through the air, 
To realms of light, and pierce the radiance there. 



KIRKE WHITE. 47 



PART II. 

There are who think that Childhood does not share 
With age the cup, the bitter cup, of care : 
Alas ! they know not this unhappy truth, 
That every age, and rank, is born to ruth. 

From the first dawn of reason in the mind, 
Man is foredoom'd the thorns of grief to find ; 
At every step has farther cause to know 
The draught of pleasure still is dash'd with woe. 

Yet in the youthful breast, for ever caught 
With some new object for romantic thought, 
The impression of the moment quickly flies, 
And with the morrow every sorrow dies. 

How different manhood ! — then does Thought's 
control 
Sink every pang still deeper in the soul ; 
Then keen Affliction's sad unceasing smart 
Becomes a painful resident in the heart ; 
And care, whom not the gayest can outbrave, 
Pursues its feeble victim to the grave. 
Then, as each long known friend is summon'd hence, 
W"e feel a void no joy can recompense, 
And as we weep o'er every new-made tomb, 
W 7 ish that ourselves the next may meet our doom. 

Yes, Childhood, thee no rankling woes pursue, 
No forms of future ill salute thy view, 
No pangs repentant bid thee wake to weep, 
But halcyon peace protects thy downy sleep, 



48 THE POEMS OF 

And sanguine Hope, through every storm of life, 
Shoots her bright beams, and calms the internal 

strife. 
Yet e'en round childhood's heart, a thoughtless 
Affection's little thread will ever twine ; [shrine, 
And though but frail may seem each tender tie, 
The soul foregoes them but with many a sigh. 
Thus, when the long expected moment came, 
When forced to leave the gentle hearted dame, 
Reluctant throbbings rose within my breast, 
And a still tear my silent grief express'd. 

When to the public school compell'd to go, 
What novel scenes did on my senses flow ? 
There in each breast each active power dilates, 
Which 'broils whole nations, and convulses states ; 
There reigns, by turns alternate, love and hate, 
Ambition burns, and factious rebels prate ; 
And in a smaller range, a smaller sphere, 
The dark deformities of man appear. 
Yet there the gentler virtues kindred claim, 
There Friendship lights her pure untainted flame, 
There mild Benevolence delights to dwell, 
And sweet Contentment rests without her cell ; 
And there, 'mid many a stormy soul, we find 
The good of heart, the intelligent of mind. 

Twas there, O George ! with thee I learn'd to • 
join 
In Friendship's bands — in amity divine. 
Oh, mournful thought ! — Where is thy spirit now ? 
As here I sit on favourite Logars brow, 



KIRKE WHITE. 49 

And trace below each well remember' d glade, 
Where arm in arm, erewhile with thee I stray'd. 
Where art thou laid — on what untrodden shore, 
Where nought is heard save ocean's sullen roar ? 
Dost thou in lowly, unlamented state, 
At last repose from all the storms of fate ? 
Methinks I see thee struggling with the wave, 
Without one aiding hand stretch'd out to save ; 
See thee convulsed, thy looks to heaven bend. 
And send thy parting sigh unto thy friend : 
Or where immeasurable wilds dismay, 
Forlorn and sad thou bend'st thy weary way, 
While sorrow and disease, with anguish rife, 
Consume apace the ebbing springs of life. 
Again I see his door against thee shut, 
The unfeeling native turn thee from his hut ; 
I see thee, spent with toil and worn with grief, 
Sit on the grass, and wish the long'd relief ; 
Then lie thee down, the stormy struggle o'er, 
Think on thy native land — and rise no more ! 

Oh ! that thou couldst, from thine august abode. 
Survey thy friend in life's dismaying road, 
That thou couldst see him, at this moment here, 
Embalm thy memory with a pious tear, 
And hover o'er him as he gazes round, 
Where all the scenes of infant joys surround. 

Yes ! yes ! his spirit's near ! — The whispering 
breeze 
Conveys his voice sad sighing on the trees ; 

E 



50 THE POEMS OF 

And lo ! his form transparent I perceive, 
Borne on the gray mist of the sullen eve : 
He hovers near, clad in the night's dim robe, 
While deathly silence reigns upon the globe. 

Yet ah ! whence comes this visionary scene ? 
'lis Fancy's wild aerial dream I ween : 
By her inspired, when reason takes its flight, 
What fond illusions beam upon the sight ! 
She waves her hand, and lo ! what forms appear ! 
What magic sounds salute the wondering ear ! 
Once more o'er distant regions do we tread, 
And the cold grave yields up its cherish'd dead ; 
While, present sorrows banish'd far away, 
Unclouded azure gilds the placid day, 
Or, in the future's cloud-encircled face, 
Fair scenes of bliss to come we fondly trace, 
And draw minutely every little wile, 
Which shall the feathery hours of time beguile. 

So when forlorn, and lonesome at her gate, 
The Royal Mary solitary sate, 
And view'd the moonbeam trembling on the wave, 
And heard the hollow surge her prison lave, 
Towards France's distant coast she bent her sight, 
For there her soul had wing'd its longing flight ; 
There did she form full many a scheme of joy, 
Visions of bliss unclouded with alloy, 
Which bright thro' Hope's deceitful optics beam'd, 
And all became the surety which it seem'd ; 
She wept, yet felt, while all within was calm, 
In every tear a melancholy charm. 



KIRKE WHITE. 51 

To yonder hill, whose sides, deform'd and steep, 
Just yield a scanty sustenance to the sheep, 
With thee, my friend, I oftentimes have sped, 
To see the sun rise from his healthy bed ; 
To watch the aspect of the summer morn, 
Smiling upon the golden fields of corn, 
And taste, delighted, of superior joys, 
Beheld through Sympathy's enchanted eyes : 
With silent admiration oft we view'd 
The myriad hues o'er heaven's blue concave strew'd ; 
The fleecy clouds, of every tint and shade, 
Round which the silvery sunbeam glancing play'd, 
And the round orb itself, in azure throne, 
Just peeping o'er the blue hill's ridgy zone ; 
We mark'd delighted, how with aspect gay, 
Reviving Nature hail'd returning day ; [heads, 
Mark'd how the flowerets rear'd their drooping 
And the wild lambkins bounded o'er the meads, 
Wliile from each tree, in tones of sweet delight, 
The birds sung paeans to the source of light : 
Oft have we watch'd the speckled lark arise, 
•Leave his grass bed, and soar to kindred skies, 
And rise, and rise, till the pain'd sight no more 
Could trace him in his high aerial tour; 
Though on the ear, at intervals, his song 
Game wafted slow the wavy breeze along ; 
And we have thought how happy were our lot, 
Bless'd with some sweet, some solitary cot, 
Where, from the peep of day, till russet eve 
Began in every dell her forms to weave, 



52 THE POEMS OF 

We might pursue our sports from day to day, 
And in each other's arms wear life away. 

At sultry noon too, when our toils were done. 
We to the gloomy glen were wont to^run; 
There on the turf we lay, while at our feet 
The cooling rivulet rippled softly sweet ; 
And mused on holy theme, and ancient lore, 
Of deeds, and days, and heroes now no more ; 
Heard, as his solemn harp Isaiah swept, 
Sung woe unto the wicked land — and wept ; 
Or, fancy-led, saw Jeremiah mourn 
In solemn sorrow o'er Judea's urn. 
Then to another shore perhaps would rove,. 
With Plato talk in his Ilyssian grove ; 
Or, wandering where the Thespian palace rose, 
W T eep once again o'er fair Jocasta's woes. 

Sweet then to us was that romantic band, 
The ancient legends of our native land — 
Chivalric Britomart, and Una fair, 
And courteous Constance, doom'd to dark despair. 
By turns our thoughts engaged ; and oft we talk'd 
Of times when monarch superstition stalk'd, 
And when the blood-fraught galliots of Rome 
Brought the grand Druid fabric to its doom : 
W 7 hile, where the wood-hung Meinai's waters flow. 
The hoary harpers pour'd the strain of woe. 

While thus employ'd, to us how sad the bell 
W T hich summon'd us to school ! 'Twas Fancy's knell, 
And, sadly sounding on the sullen ear, 
It spoke of study pale, and chilling fear. 



KIRKE WHITE. 53 

Yet even then, (for oh ! what chains can bind, 
What powers control, the energies of mind !) 
E'en then we soar'd to many a height sublime, 
And many a day-dream charm'd the lazy time. 
At evening too, how pleasing was our walk, 
Endear'd by Friendship's unrestrained talk, 
When to the upland heights we bent our way, 
To view the last beam of departing day ; 
How calm was all around ! no playful breeze 
Sigh'd 'mid the wavy foliage of the trees, 
But all was still, save when, with drowsy song, 
The gray -fly wound his sullen horn along; 
And save when, heard in soft, yet merry glee, 
The distant church bells' mellow harmony ; 
The silver mirror of the lucid brook, 
That 'mid the tufted broom its still course took ; 
The rugged arch, that clasp'd its silent tides, 
With moss and rank weeds hanging down its sides ; 
The craggy rock, that jutted on the sight ; 
The shrieking bat, that took its heavy flight ; 
All, all was pregnant with divine delight. 
We loved to watch the swallow swimming high, 
In the bright azure of the vaulted sky ; 
Or gaze upon the clouds, whose colour'd pride 
Was scatter'd thinly o'er the welkin wide, 
And tinged with such variety of shade, 
To the charm'd soul sublimest thoughts convey'd. 
In these what forms romantic did we trace, 
While Fancy led us o'er the realms of space ! 
Now we espied the Thunderer in his car, 
Leading the embattled seraphim to war, 



54 THE POEMS OF 

Then stately towers descried, sublimely high, 
In Gothic grandeur frowning on the sky — 
Or saw, wide stretching o'er the azure height, 
A ridge of glaciers in mural white, 
Hugely terrific. — But those times are o'er, 
And the fond scene can charm mine eyes no more ; 
For thou art gone, and I am left below r , 
Alone to struggle through this world of woe. 

The scene is o'er — still seasons onward roll, 
And each revolve conducts me toward the goal ; 
Yet all is blank, without one soft relief, 
One endless continuity of grief; 
And the tired soul, now led to thoughts sublime, 
Looks but for rest beyond the bounds of time. 

Toil on, toil on, ye busy crow T ds, that pant 
For hoards of wealth which ye will never want : 
And lost to all but gain, with ease resign 
The calms of peace and happiness divine ! 
Far other cares be mine — Men little crave 
In this short journey to the silent grave ; 
And the poor peasant, bless'd with peace and health, 
I envy more than Croesus with his wealth. 
Yet grieve not I, that fate did not decree 
Paternal acres to await on me ; 
She gave me more, she placed within my breast 
A heart with little pleased — with little bless'd : 
I look around me, where, on every side, 
Extensive manors spread in wealthy pride ; 
And could my sight be borne to either zone, 
I should not find one foot of land my own. 



KIRKE WHITE. DD 

But whither do I wander ? shall the muse, 
For golden baits, her simple theme refuse ? 
Oh, no ! but while the weary spirit greets 
The fading scenes of childhood's far gone sweets, 
It catches all the infant's wandering tongue, 
And prattles on in desultory song. 
That song must close — the gloomy mists of night 
Obscure the pale stars' visionary light, 
And ebon darkness, clad in vapoury wet, 
Steals on the welkin in primaeval jet. 

The song must close. — Once more my adverse lot 
Leads me reluctant from this cherish'd spot : 
Again compels to plunge in busy life, 
And brave the hateful turbulence of strife. 

Scenes of my youth — ere my unwilling feet 
Are turn'd for ever from this loved retreat, 
Ere on these fields, with plenty cover'd o'er, 
My eyes are closed to ope on them no more, 
Let me ejaculate, to feeling due, 
One long, one last affectionate adieu. 
Grant that, if ever Providence should please 
To give me an old age of peace and ease, 
Grant that, in these sequester'd shades, my days 
May wear away in gradual decays : 
And oh ! ye spirits, who unbodied play, 
Unseen upon the pinions of the day, 
Kind genii of my native fields benign, 
Who were 



^6 THE POEMS OF 

THE CHRISTIAD. 

A DIVINE POEM. 

BOOK I. 
I. 

I sing the Cross ! — Ye white-robed angel choirs. 

Who know the chords of harmony to sweep, 
Ye who o'er holy David's varying wires 

Were wont, of old, your hovering watch to keep, 
Oh, now descend ! and with your harpings 
deep, 
Pouring sublime the full symphonious stream 

Of music, such as soothes the saint's last sleep, 
Awake my slumbering spirit from its dream, 
And teach me how to exalt the high mysterious 
theme. 

ii. 
Mourn ! Salem, mourn ! low lies thine humbled 
state, 
Thy glittering fanes are level'd with the ground • 
Fallen is thy pride ! — Thine halls are desolate ! 
Where erst was heard the timbrels' sprightly 

sound, 
And frolic pleasures tripp'd the nightly round, 
There breeds the wild fox lonely, — and aghast 

Stands the mute pilgrim at the void profound, 

Unbroke by noise, save when the hurrying blast 

Sighs, like a spirit, deep along the cheerless waste. 



KIRKE WHITE. 57 

III. 

It is for this, proud Solyma ! thy towers 
Lie crumbling in the dust ; for this forlorn 

Thy genius wails along thy desert bowers, 
While stern Destruction laughs, as if in scorn, 
That thou didst dare insult God's eldest born ; 

And, with most bitter persecuting ire, 

Pursued his footsteps till the last day dawn 

Rose on his fortunes — and thou saw'st the fire 
That came to light the world, in one great flash 
expire. 

IV. 

Oh ! for a pencil dipp'd in living light, 

To paint the agonies that Jesus bore ! 
Oh ! for the long lost harp of Jesse's might, 

To hymn the Saviour's praise from shore to 
shore ; 

While seraph hosts the lofty paean pour, 
And Heaven enraptured lists the loud acclaim ! 

May a frail mortal dare the theme explore ? 
May he to human ears his weak song frame ? 
Oh ! may he dare to sing Messiah's glorious name. 

v. 
Spirits of pity ! mild crusaders, come ! 

Buoyant on clouds around your minstrel float, 
And give him eloquence who else were dumb, 

And raise to feeling and to fire his note ! 

And thou, Urania ! who dost still devote 
Thy nights and days to God's eternal shrine, 



58 THE POEMS OF 

Whose mild eyes 'lumined what Isaiah wrote, 
Throw o'er thy Bard that solemn stole of thine, 
And clothe him for the fight with energy divine. 

VI. 

When from the temple's lofty summit prone, 
Satan, o'ercome, fell down ; and 'throned there, 

The Son of God confess'd in splendour shone : 
Swift as the glancing sunbeam cuts the air, 
Mad with defeat, and yelling his despair, 

Fled the stern king of Hell — and with the glare 

Of gliding meteors, ominous and red, [head. 

Shot athwart the clouds that gather'd round his 

VII. 

Right o'er the Euxine, and that gulf which late 

The rude Massagetse adored, he bent 
His northering course, while round, in dusky state, 

The assembling fiends their summon'd troops 
augment ; [went, 

Clothed in dark mists, upon their way they 
While, as they pass'd to regions more severe, 

The Lapland sorcerer swelPd with loud lament 
The solitary gale ; and, fill'd with fear, 
The howling dogs bespoke unholy spirits near. 

VIII. 

Where the North Pole, in moody solitude, 
Spreads her huge tracks and frozen wastes 
around, 
There ice-rocks piled aloft, in order rude, 



KIRKE WHITE. 59 

Form a gigantic hall, where never sound 
Startled dull Silence' ear, save when profound 
The smoke-frost mutter'd : there drear Cold for 
aye [mound, 

Thrones him, — and, fix'd on his primaeval 
Ruin, the giant, sits; while stern Dismay- 
Stalks like some woe-struck man along the desert 
way. 

IX. 

In that drear spot, grim Desolation's lair, 

No sweet remain of life encheers the sight ; 
The dancing heart's blood in an instant there 
Would freeze to marble. — Mingling day and 
night [light) 

(Sweet interchange, which makes our labours 
Are there unknown ; while in the summer skies 
The sun rolls ceaseless round his heavenly 
height, 
Nor ever sets till from the scene he flies, 
And leaves the long bleak night of half the year 
to rise. 

x. 
'Twas there,yet shuddering from the burning lake, 

Satan had fix'd their next consistory, 
When parting last he fondly hoped to shake 
Messiah's constancy, — and thus to free 
The powers of darkness from the dread decree 
Of bondage brought by him, and circumvent 

The unerring ways of Him whose eye can see 
The womb of Time, and, in its embryo pent, 
Discern the colours clear of every dark event. 



60 THE POEMS OF 

XI. -j 

Here the stern monarch stay'd his rapid flight, 

And his thick hosts, as with a jetty pall, 
Hovering obscured the north star's peaceful light, 
Waiting on wing their haughty chieftain's call. 
He, meanwhile, downward, with a sullen fall, ! 
Dropp'd on the echoing ice. Instant the sound * 
Of their broad vans was hush'd, and o'er the 
hall, 
Vast and obscure, the gloomy cohorts bound, 
Till, wedged in ranks, the seat of Satan they sur- 
round. 

XII. 

High on a solium of the solid wave, 

Prank'd with rude shapes by the fantastic frost, ' 
He stood in silence ; — now keen thoughts engrave 

Dark figures on his front ; and, tempest-toss'd, 

He fears to say that every hope is lost. 
Meanwhile the multitude as death are mute ; 

So, ere the tempest on Malacca's coast, 
Sweet Quiet, gently touching her soft lute, 
Sings to the whispering waves the prelude to dispute. 

XIII. 

At length collected, o'er the dark Divan 

The arch fiend glanced as by the Boreal blaze 

Their downcast brows were seen, and thus began 
His fierce harangue : — " Spirits ! our better 

days 
Are now elapsed ; Moloch and Belial's praise 



KIRKE WHITE. 61 

Shall sound no more in groves by myriads trod. 
Lo ! the light breaks ; — The astonish'd nations 
For us is lifted high the avenging rod ! [gaze, 
For, spirits ! this is He, — this is the Son of God ! 

XIV. 

" What then ! — shall Satan's spirit crouch to fear ? 
Shall he who shook the pillars of God's reign 
Drop from his unnerved arm the hostile spear ? 
Madness ! The very thought would make me 

fain 
To tear the spanglets from yon gaudy plain, 
And hurl them at their Maker ! — Fix'd as Fate 
I am his foe ! — Yea, though his pride should 
deign 
To soothe mine ire with half his regal state, 
Still would I burn with fix'd unalterable hate. 

xv. 

" Now hear the issue of my cursed emprize, 
When from our last sad synod I took flight, 
Buoy'd with false hopes, in some deep-laid dis- 
guise, 
To tempt this vaunted Holy One to write 
His own self-condemnation ; in the plight 
Of aged man in the lone wilderness, 

Gathering a few stray sticks, I met his sight ; 
And, leaning on my staff, seem'd much to guess 
What cause could mortal bring to that forlorn 
recess. 



62 THE POEMS OF 

XVI. 

" Then thus in homely guise I featly framed 

My lowly speech : — ' Good Sir, what leads 
this way [blamed 

Your wandering steps ? must hapless chance be 

That you so far from haunt of mortals stray ? 

Here have I dwelt for many a lingering day, 
Nor trace of man have seen : but how ! methought 

Thou wert the youth on whom God's holy ray 
I saw descend in Jordan, when John taught 
That he to fallen man the saving promise brought.' 

XVII. 

" * I am that man,' said Jesus, c I am He. 

But truce to questions — Canst thou point my 
To some low hut, if haply such there be [feet 

In this wild labyrinth, w r here I may meet 

With homely greeting, and may sit and eat ; 
For forty days I have tarried fasting here, 

Hid in the dark glens of this lone retreat, 
And now I hunger ; and my fainting ear 
Longs much to greet the sound of fountains gushing 
near/ 

XVIII. 

" Then thus I answer'd wily: — * If, indeed, 

Son of our God thou be'st, what need to seek 
For food from men ? — Lo ! on these flint stones 
feed, 
Bid them be bread ! Open thy lips and speak. 
And living rills from yon parch'd rock will 
break.' 



KIRKE WHITE. 63 

Instant as I had spoke, his piercing 1 eye 
Fix'd on my face ; — the blood forsook my 
cheek, 
I could not bear his gaze ; — my mask slipp'd by ; 
I would have shunn'd his look, but had not power 
to fly. 

XIX. 

" Then he rebuked me with the holy word — 
Accursed sounds ; but now my native pride 

Return'd, and by no foolish qualm deterr'd, 
I bore him from the mountain's woody side 
Up to the summit, where extending wide 

Kingdoms and cities, palaces and fanes, 

Bright sparkling in the sunbeams, were des- 
cried, 

And in gay dance, amid luxuriant plains, 
Tripp'd to the jocund reed the emasculated swains. 

xx. 

" ' Behold,' I cried, ' these glories ! scenes divine ! 
Thou whose sad prime in pining want decays ; 
And these, O rapture ! these shall all be thine, 
If thou wilt give to me, not God, the praise. 
Hath he not given to indigence thy days ? 
Is not thy portion peril here and pain ? 

Oh ! leave his temples, shun his wounding 
ways ! 
Seize the tiara ! these mean weeds disdain, 
Kneel, kneel, thou man of woe, and peace and 
splendour gain.' 



64 THE POEMS OF 

XXI. 

" ' Is it not written,' sternly he replied, 

c Tempt not the Lord thy God !' Frowning 
he spake, 
And instant sounds, as of the ocean tide, 

Rose, and the whirlwind from its prison brake, 
And caught me up aloft, till in one flake 
The sidelong volley met my swift career, 
And smote me earthward. — Jove himself 
might quake 
At such a fall ; my sinews crack'd, and near, 
Obscure and dizzy sounds seem'd ringing in mine 
ear. 

XXII. 

" Senseless and stunn'd I lay ; till casting round 
My half unconscious gaze, I saw the foe 

Borne on a car of roses to the ground, 
By volant angels ; and as sailing slow 
He sunk the hoary battlement below, 

While on the tall spire slept the slant sunbeam, 
Sweet on the enamour'd zephyr was the flow 

Of heavenly instruments. Such strains oft seem, 
On star-light hill, to soothe the Syrian shepherd's 
dream. 

XXIII. 

" I saw blaspheming. Hate renew'd my strength ; 
I smote the ether with my iron wing, 

And left the accursed scene. — Arrived at length 
In these drear halls, to ye, my peers ! I bring 
The tidings of defeat. Hell's haughty king 



KIRKE WHITE. 65 

Thrice vanquished, baffled, smitten, and dismay 'd! 

shame ! Is this the hero who could fling 
Defiance at his Maker, while array' d, 

High o'er the walls of light, rebellion's banners 
play'd ! 

XXIV. 

" Yet shall not Heaven's bland minions triumph 
long; 
Hell yet shall have revenge. O glorious sight, 
Prophetic visions on my fancy throng, 

1 see wild Agony's lean finger write 

Sad figures on his forehead! — Keenly bright 
Revenge's flambeau burns ! Now in his eyes 

Stand the hot tears, — immantled in the night. 
Lo ! he retires to mourn ! — I hear his cries ! 
He faints — he falls — and lo ! — 'tis true, ye powers, 
he dies." 

XXV. 

Thus spake the chieftain, — and as if he view'd 

The scene he pictured, with his foot advanced 
And chest inflated, motionless he stood, 
While under his uplifted shield he glanced, 
With straining eyeball fix'd, like one en- 
tranced, 
On viewless air ; — thither the dark platoon 
Gazed wondering, nothing seen, save when 
there danced 
The northern flash, or fiend late fled from noon, 
Darken'd the disk of the descending moon. 

F 



66 THE POEMS OF 

XXVI. 

Silence crept stilly through the ranks. — The 
breeze 
Spake most distinctly. As the sailor stands, 
When all the midnight gasping from the seas 
Break boding sobs, and to his sight expands 
High on the shrouds the spirit that commands 
The ocean-farer's life ; so stiff — so sear 

Stood each dark power ; — while through their 
numerous bands 
Beat not one heart, and mingling hope and fear 
Now told them all was lost, now bade revenge ap- 
pear. 

XXVII. 

One there was there, whose loud defying tongue 
Nor hope nor fear had silenced, but the swell 

Of over-boiling malice. Utterance long 

His passion mock'd, and long he strove to tell 
His labouring ire ; still syllable none fell 

From his pale quivering lip, but died away 
For very fury ; from each hollow cell 

Half sprang his eyes, that cast a flamy ray, 
And 

XXVIII. 

" This comes," at length burst from the furious 
chief, 

" This comes of distant counsels ! Here behold 
The fruits of wily cunning ! the relief 

Which coward policy would fain unfold, 



KIRKE WHITE. 67 

To soothe the powers that warr'd with Heaven 
of old! 
O wise ! O potent ! O sagacious snare ! 

And lo ! our prince — the mighty and the bold, 
There stands he, spell-struck, gaping at the air, 
While Heaven subverts his reign, and plants her 
standard there. ,, 

XXIX. 

Here, as recover'd, Satan fix'd his eye 

Full on the speaker ; dark it was and stern ; 
He wrapp'd his black vest round him gloomily, 
And stood like one whom weightiest thoughts 

concern. 
Him Moloch mark'd, and strove again to turn 
His soul to rage. " Behold, behold," he cried, 
" The lord of Hell, who made these legions 
spurn 
Almighty rule — behold he lays aside [lied." 

The spear of just revenge, and shrinks, by man de- 

XXX. 

Thus ended Moloch, and his burning tongue 
Hung quivering, as if [mad] to quench its heat 

In slaughter. So, his native wilds among, 
The famish'd tiger pants, when, near his seat, 
Press'd on the sands, he marks the traveller's 
feet. 

Instant low murmurs rose, and many a sword 



68 THE POEMS OF 

Had from its scabbard sprung ; but toward the 
seat 
Of the arch-fiend all turn'd with one accord, 
As loud he thus harangued the sanguinary horde. 



" Ye powers of Hell, I am no coward. I proved 
this of old : who led your forces against the armies 
of Jehovah? Who coped with Ithuriel and the 
thunders of the Almighty ? Who, when stunned 
and confused ye lay on the burning lake, who 
first awoke, and collected your scattered powers ? 
Lastly, who led you across the unfathomable 
abyss to this delightful world, and established 
that reign here which now totters to its base ? 
How, therefore, dares yon treacherous fiend to 
cast a stain on Satan's bravery? he who preys 
only on the defenceless — who sucks the blood of 
infants, and delights only in acts of ignoble cruelty 
and unequal contention. Away with the boaster 
who never joins in action, but, like a cormorant, 
hovers over the field, to feed upon the wounded, 
and overwhelm the dying. True bravery is as 
remote from rashness as from hesitation; let us 
counsel coolly, but let us execute our counseled 
purposes determinately. In power we have learned, 
by that experiment which lost us Heaven, that 
we are inferior to the Thunder-bearer: — In sub- 
tlety, in subtlety alone we are his equals. Open 
war is impossible. 



KIRKE WHITE. 69 

" Thus we shall pierce our conqueror through 
the race 
Which as himself he loves ; thus if we fall, 
We fall not with the anguish, the disgrace, 
Of falling unrevenged. The stirring call 
Of vengeance wrings within me ! Warriors all, 
The word is vengeance, and the spur despair. 
Away with coward wiles ! — Death's coal-black 
pall 
Be now our standard ! — Be our torch the glare 
Of cities fired ! our fifes, the shrieks that fill the air !" 

Him answering rose Mecashpim, who of old, 
Far in the silence of Chaldea's groves, 

Was worship'd, God of Fire, with eharms untold 
And mystery. His wandering spirit roves, 
Now vainly searching for the flame it loves ; 

And sits and mourns like some white-robed sire, 
Where stood his temple, and where fragrant 
cloves 

And cinnamon unheap'd the sacred pyre, 
And nightly magi watch'd the everlasting fire. 

He waved his robe of flame, he eross'd his breast, 
And sighing — his papyrus scarf survey 'd, 

Woven with dark characters, then thus address'd 
The troubled council. 



70 THE POEMS OF 

I. 

Thus far have I pursued my solemn theme 

With self-rewarding toil, thus far have sung 
Of godlike deeds, far loftier than beseem 
The lyre which I in early days have strung : 
And now my spirit's faint, and I have hung 
The shell, that solaced me in saddest hour, 
On the dark cypress ! and the strings which 
rung 
With Jesus' praise, their harpings now are o'er, 
Or, when the breeze comes by, moan and are heard 
no more. 

And must the harp of Judah sleep again ? 

Shall I no more reanimate the lay? 
Oh ! thou who visitest the sons of men, 

Thou who dost listen when the humble pray, 

One little space prolong my mournful day ! 
One little lapse suspend thy last decree ! 

I am a youthful traveller in the way, 
And this slight boon would consecrate to thee, 
Ere I with Death shake hands, and smile that I 
am free. 



KIRKE WHITE. 71 



LINES WRITTEN ON A SURVEY OF THE 
HEAVENS, 

IN THE MORNING BEFORE DAYBREAK. 

Ye many twinkling stars, who yet do hold 

Your brilliant places in the sable vault 

Of night's dominions ! — Planets, and central orbs 

Of other systems 1 — big as the burning sun 

Which lights this nether globe, — yet to our eye 

Small as the glowworm's lamp ! — To you I raise 

My lowly orisons, while, all bewilder' d, 

My vision strays o'er your ethereal hosts ; 

Too vast, too boundless for our narrow mind, 

Warp'd with low prejudices, to unfold, 

And sagely comprehend. Thence higher soaring, 

Through ye I raise my solemn thoughts to Him, 

The mighty Founder of this wondrous maze, 

The great Creator ! Him ! who now sublime, 

Wrapt in the solitary amplitude 

Of boundless space, above the rolling spheres 

Sits on his silent throne and meditates* 

The angelic hosts, in their inferior Heaven, 
Hymn to the golden harps his praise sublime, 
Repeating loud, " The Lord our God is great," 
In varied harmonies. — The glorious sounds 
Roll o'er the air serene — The iEolian spheres, 
Harping along their viewless boundaries, 



72 THE POEMS OF 

Catch the full note, and cry, " The Lord is great/' 
Responding to the Seraphim. O'er all 
From orb to orb, to the remotest verge 
Of the created world, the sound is borne, 
Till the whole universe is full of Him. 

Oh ! 'tis this heavenly harmony which now 
In fancy strikes upon my listening ear, 
And thrills my inmost soul. It bids me smile 
On the vain world, and all its bustling cares, 
And gives a shadowy glimpse of future bliss. 

Oh ! what is man, when at ambition's height, 
What even are kings, when balanced in the scale 
Of these stupendous worlds ! Almighty God ! 
Thou, the dread author of these wondrous works ! 
Say, canst thou cast on me, poor passing worm, 
One look of kind benevolence ? — Thou canst : 
For Thou art full of universal love, 
And in thy boundless goodness wilt impart 
Thy beams as well to me as to the proud, 
The pageant insects of a glittering hour. 

Oh ! when reflecting on these truths sublime, 
How insignificant do all the joys, 
The gaudes, and honours of the world appear! 
How vain ambition ! Why has my wakeful lamp 
Outwatch'd the slow-paced night ? — Why on the 

page, 
The schoolman's labour'd page, have I employ 'd 
The hours devoted by the world to rest, 
And needful to recruit exhausted nature ? 
Say, can the voice of narrow Fame repay 



KIRKE WHITE. 73 

The loss of health ? or can the hope of glory 
Lend a new throb into my languid heart, 
Cool, even now, my feverish aching brow, 
Relume the fires of this deep sunken eye, 
Or paint new colours on this pallid cheek ? 

Say, foolish one — can that unbodied fame, 
For which thou barterest health and happiness, 
Say, can it soothe the slumbers of the grave ? 
Give a new zest to bliss, or chase the pangs 
Of everlasting punishment condign ? 
Alas ! how vain are mortal man's desires ! 
How fruitless his pursuits ! Eternal God ! 
Guide thou my footsteps in the way of truth, 
And oh ! assist me so to live on earth, 
That I may die in peace, and claim a place 
In thy high dwelling. — All but this is folly, 
The vain illusions of deceitful life. 



LINES SUPPOSED TO BE SPOKEN BY A LOVER 
AT THE GRAVE OF HIS MISTRESS. 

OCCASIONED BY A SITUATION IN A ROMANCE. 

Mary, the moon is sleeping on thy grave, 
And on the turf thy lover sad is kneeling, 
The big tear in his eye. — Mary, awake, 
From thy dark house arise, and bless his sight 
On the pale moonbeam gliding. Soft, and low, 
Pour on the silver ear of night thy tale, 



74 THE POEMS OF 

Thy whisper'd tale of comfort and of love, 
To soothe thy Edward's lorn, distracted soul, 
And cheer his breaking heart. — Come, as thou 

didst, 
When o'er the barren moors the night wind howl'd, 
And the deep thunders shook the ebon throne 
Of the startled night! — O! then, as lone reclining, 
I listened sadly to the dismal storm, 
Thou on the lambent lightnings wild careering 
Didst strike my moody eye ; — dead pale thou wert, 
Yet passing lovely. — Thou didst smile upon me, 
And oh ! thy voice it rose so musical, 
Betwixt the hollow pauses of the storm, 
That at the sound the winds forgot to rave, 
And the stern demon of the tempest, charm'd, 
Sunk on his rocking throne to still repose, 
Locked in the arms of silence. 

Spirit of her ! 
My only love ! O ! now again arise, 
x\nd let once more thine aery accents fall 
Soft on my listening ear. The night is calm, 
The gloomy willows wave in sinking cadence 
With the stream that sweeps below. Divinely swell- 
On the still air, the distant waterfall [ing 

Mingles its melody ; — and, high above, 
The pensive empress of the solemn night, 
Fitful, emerging from the rapid clouds, 
Shows her chaste face in the meridian sky. 
No wicked elves upon the Warlock-knoll 
Dare now assemble at their mystic revels. 



KIRKE WHITE. SO 

Tt is a night when, from their primrose beds, 
The gentle ghosts of injured innocents 
Are known to rise and wander on the breeze, 
Or take their stand by the oppressor's couch, 
And strike grim terror to his guilty soul. 
The spirit of my love might now awake, 
And hold its customed converse. 

Mary, lo ! 
Thy Edward kneels upon thy verdant grave, 
And calls upon thy name. The breeze that blows 
On his wan cheek will soon sweep over him 
In solemn music a funereal dirge, 
Wild and most sorrowful. His cheek is pale, 
The worm that prey'd upon thy youthful bloom 
It canker'd green on his. Now lost he stands, 
The ghost of what he was, and the cold dew, 
Which bathes his aching temples, gives sure omen 
Of speedy dissolution. Mary, soon 
Thy love will lay his pallid cheek to thine, 
And sweetly will he sleep with thee in death. 



MY STUDY. 

A IETTER IN HUDIBRASTIC VERSE. 

You bid me, Ned, describe the place 
Where I, one of the rhyming race, 
Pursue my studies con amore, 
And wanton with the muse in glory* 



76 THE POEMS OF 

Well, figure to your senses straight, 
Upon the house's topmost height, 
A closet just six feet by four, 
With whitewash' d walls and plaster floor. 
So noble large, 'tis scarcely able 
To admit a single chair and table : 
And (lest the muse should die with cold) 
A smoky grate my fire to hold : 
So wondrous small, 'twould much it pose 
To melt the icedrop on one's nose ; 
And yet so big, it covers o'er 
Full half the spacious room and more. 

A window vainly stuff'd about, 
To keep November's breezes out, 
So crazy, that the panes proclaim 
That soon they mean to leave the frame. 

My furniture I sure may crack — 
A broken chair without a back ; 
A table wanting just two legs, 
One end sustain'd by wooden pegs ; 
A desk — of that I am not fervent, 
The work of, Sir, your humble servant ; 
(Who, though I say't, am no such fumbler ;) 
A glass decanter and a tumbler, 
From which my night-parch'd throat I lave, 
Luxurious, with the limpid wave. 
A chest of drawers, in antique sections, 
And saw'd by me in all directions ; 
So small, Sir, that whoever views 'em 
Swears nothing but a doll could use 'cm. 



K1RKE WHITE. 77 

To these, if you will add a store 

Of oddities upon the floor, 

A pair of globes, electric balls, 

Scales, quadrants, prisms, and cobbler's awls, 

And crowds of books, on rotten shelves, 

Octavos, folios, quartos, twelves ; 

I think, dear Ned, you curious dog, 

You'll have my earthly catalogue. 

But stay, — I nearly had left out 

My bellows destitute of snout ; 

And on the walls, — Good Heavens ! why there 

I've such a load of precious ware, 

Of heads, and coins, and silver medals, 

And organ works, and broken pedals ; 

(For I was once a-building music, 

Though soon of that employ I grew sick) ; 

And skeletons of laws which shoot 

All out of one primordial root ; 

That you, at such a sight, would swear 

Confusion's self had settled there. 

There stands, just by a broken sphere, 

A Cicero without an ear, 

A neck, on which, by logic good, 

I know for sure a head once stood ; 

But who it was the able master 

Had moulded in the mimic plaster, 

Whether 'twas Pope, or Coke, or Burn, 

I never yet could justly learn : 

But knowing well, that any head 

Is made to answer for the dead, 



78 THE POEMS OF 

(And sculptors first their faces frame, 

And after pitch upon a name, 

Nor think it aught of a misnomer 

To christen Chaucer's busto Homer, 

Because they both have beards, which, you know. 

Will mark them well from Joan, and Juno.) 

For some great man, I could not tell 

But Neck might answer just as well, 

So perch'd it up, all in a row 

With Chatham and with Cicero. 

Then all around, in just degree, 
A range of portraits you may see, 
Of mighty men and eke of women, 
Who are no whit inferior to men. 

With these fair dames, and heroes round, 
I call my garret classic ground. 
For though confined, 'twill well contain 
The ideal flights of Madam Brain. 
No dungeon's walls, no cell confined 
Can cramp the energies of mind ! 
Thus, though my heart may seem so small, 
I've friends, and 'twill contain them all; 
And should it e'er become so cold 
That these it will no longer hold, 
No more may Heaven her blessings give, 
I shall not then be fit to live. 



KIRKE WHITE. 79 



DESCRIPTION OF A SUMMER'S EVE. 

Down the sultry arc of day 

The burning wheels have urged their way ; 

And eve along the western skies 

Sheds her intermingling dyes. 

Down the deep, the miry lane, 

Creaking comes the empty wain, 

And driver on the shaft-horse sits, 

Whistling now and then by fits : 

And oft, with his accustomed call, 

Urging on the sluggish Ball. 

The barn is still, the master's gone,/ 

And thresher puts his jacket on, 

While Dick, upon the ladder tall, 

Nails the dead kite to the wall. 

Here comes shepherd Jack at last, 

He has penned the sheepcote fast, 

For 'twas but two nights before, 

A lamb was eaten on the moor : 

His empty wallet Rover carries, 

Nor for Jack, when near home, tarries. 

With lolling tongue he runs to try 

If the horse-trough be not dry. 

The milk is settled in the pans, 

And supper messes in the cans ; 

In the hovel carts are wheePd, 

And both the colts are drove a-field ; 



80 THE POEMS OF 

The horses are all bedded up, 
And the ewe is with the tup. 
The snare for Mister Fox is set, 
The leaven laid, the thatching wet, 
And Bess has slink'd away to talk 
With Roger in the holly walk. 

Now, on the settle all, but Bess, 
Are set to eat their supper mess ; 
And little Tom and roguish Kate 
Are swinging on the meadow gate. 
Now they chat of various things, 
Of taxes, ministers, and kings, 
Or else tell all the village news, 
How madam did the squire refuse ; 
How parson on his tithes was bent, 
And landlord oft distrained for rent. 
Thus do they talk, till in the sky 
The pale-eyed moon is mounted high, 
And from the alehouse drunken Ned 
Had reePd — then hasten all to bed. 
The mistress sees that lazy Kate 
The happing coal on kitchen grate 
Has laid — while master goes throughout, 
Sees shutters fast, the mastiff out, 
The candles safe, the hearths all clear, 
And nought from thieves or fire to fear ; 
Then both to bed together creep, 
And join the general troop of sleep. 



KIRKE WHITE. 83 



LINES, 



Written impromptu, on reading the following passage in Mr. 
Capel LorTt's beautiful and interesting Preface to Nathaniel 
Bloomfield's Poems, just published : — " It has a mixture 
of the sportive, which deepens the impression of its me- 
lancholy close. I could have wished, as I have said in a 
short note, the conclusion had been otherwise. The sours 
of life less offend my taste than its sweets delight it." 

Go to the raging sea, and say, " Be still !" 
Bid the wild lawless winds obey thy will ; 
Preach to the storm, and reason with Despair, 
But tell not Misery's son that life is fair. 

Thou, who in Plenty's lavish lap hast rolPd, 
And every year with new delight hast told, 
Thou, who, recumbent on the lacquer' d barge, 
Hast dropt down joy's gay stream of pleasant 

marge, 
Thou mayst extol life's calm untroubled sea, 
The storms of misery never burst on thee. 

Go to the mat, where squalid Want reclines, 
Go to the shade obscure, where merit pines ; 
Abide with him whom Penury's charms control? 
And bind the rising yearnings of his soul, 
Survey his sleepless couch, and, standing there, 
Tell the poor pallid wretch that life is fair ! 

Press thou the lonely pillow of his head, 
And ask why sleep his languid eyes has fled ; 



C2 THE POEMS OF 

Mark his dew'd temples, and his half shut eye, 
His trembling nostrils, and his deep drawn sigh, 
His muttering mouth contorted with despair, 
And ask if Genius could inhabit there. 

Oh, yes ! that sunken eye with fire once gleam'd, 
And rays of light from its full circlet stream'd : 
But now Neglect has stung him to the core, 
And Hope's wild raptures thrill his breast no more ; 
Domestic Anguish w T inds his vitals round, 
And added Grief compels him to the ground. 
Lo ! o'er his manly form, decay' d and wan, 
The shades of death with gradual steps steal on ; 
And the pale mother, pining to decay, 
Weeps for her boy her wretched life away. 

Go, child of Fortune ! to his early grave, 
Where o'er his head obscure the rank weeds wave ; 
Behold the heart-wrung parent lay her head 
On the cold turf, and ask to share his bed. 
Go, child of Fortune, take thy lesson there, 
And tell us then that life is wondrous fair ! 

Yet, Lofft, in thee, whose hand is still stretch'd 
forth, 
To encourage genius, and to foster worth ; 
On thee, the unhappy's firm, unfailing friend, 
'Tis just that every blessing should descend ; 
'Tis just that life to thee should only show 
Her fairer side but little mix'd with woe. 



KIRKE WHITE. 83 



WRITTEN IN THE PROSPECT OF DEATH. 

Sad solitary Thought, who keep'st thy vigils, 

Thy solemn vigils, in the sick man's mind ; 

Communing lonely with his sinking soul, 

And musing on the dubious glooms that lie 

In dim obscurity before him, — thee, 

Wrapt in thy dark magnificence, I call 

At this still midnight hour, this awful season, 

When on my bed, in wakeful restlessness, 

I turn me wearisome ; while all around, 

All, all, save me, sink in forgetfulness ; 

I only wake to watch the sickly taper 

Which lights me to my tomb. Yes, 'tis the hand 

Of death I feel press heavy on my vitals, 

Slow sapping the warm current of existence. 

My moments now are few — the sand of life 

Ebbs fastly to its finish. Yet a little, 

And the last fleeting particle will fall 

Silent, unseen, unnoticed, unlamented. 

Come then, sad Thought, and let us meditate, 

While meditate we may. — We have now 

But a small portion of what men call time 

To hold communion ; for even now the knife, 

The separating knife, I feel divide 

The tender bond that binds my soul to earth. 

Yes, I must die — I feel that I must die ; 

And though to me has life been dark and dreary, 

Though Hope for me has smiled but to deceive, 



84 THE POEMS OF 

And Disappointment still pursued her blandish- 
Yet do I feel my soul recoil within me [ments, 
As I contemplate the dim gulf of death, 
The shuddering void, the awful blank — futurity. 
Ay, I had plann'd full many a sanguine scheme 
Of earthly happiness — romantic schemes, 
And fraught with loveliness ; and it is hard 
To feel the hand of Death arrest one's steps, 
Throw a chill blight o'er all one's budding hopes, 
And hurl one's soul untimely to the shades, 
Lost in the gaping gulf of blank oblivion. 
Fifty years hence, and who will hear of Henry ? 
Oh ! none ; — another busy brood of beings 
Will shoot up in the interim, and none 
Will hold him in remembrance. I shall sink 
As sinks a stranger in the crowded streets 
Of busy London : — Some short bustle's caused, 
A few inquiries, and the crowds close in, 
And all's forgotten. — On my grassy grave 
The men of future times will careless tread, 
And read my name upon the sculptured stone ; 
Nor will the sound, familiar to their ears, 
Recall my vanish'd memory. I did hope 
For better things ! — I hoped I should not leave 
The earth without a vestige ; — Fate decrees 
It shall be otherwise, and I submit. 
Henceforth, oh, world, no more of thy desires ! 
No more of hope ! the wanton vagrant Hope ! 
I abjure all. Now other cares engross me, 
And my tired soul, with emulative haste, 
Looks to its God, and prunes its wings for heaven. 



KIRKE WHITE. 85 



VERSES. 



When pride and envy? and the scorn 
Of wealth my heart with gall imbued, 

I thought how pleasant were the morn 
Of silence, in the solitude ; 

To hear the forest bee on wing ; 

Or by the stream, or woodland spring, 

To lie and muse alone — alone, 

While the tinkling waters moan, 

Or such wild sounds arise, as say, 

Man and noise are far away. 

Now, surely, thought I, there's enow 

To fill life's dusty way ; 
And who will miss a poet's feet, 

Or wonder where he stray: 
So to the woods and wastes Pll go, 

And I will build an osier bower, 
And sweetly there to me shall flow 

The meditative hour. 

And when the Autumn's withering hand, 
Shall strew with leaves the sylvan land, 
I'll to the forest caverns hie : 
And in the dark and stormy nights 
I'll listen to the shrieking sprites, 
Who, in the wintry wolds and floods, 
Keep jubilee, and shred the woods ; 
Or, as it drifted soft and slow, 
Hurl in ten thousand shapes the snow. 



86 THE POEMS OF 



FRAGMENT. 



Oh ! thou most fatal of Pandora's train, 
Consumption ! silent cheater of the eye ; 

Thou comest not robed in agonizing pain, 

Nor mark'st thy course with Death's delusive dye, 
But silent and unnoticed thou dost lie ; 

O'er life's soft springs thy venom dost diffuse, 
And, while thou givest new lustre to the eye, 

While o'er the cheek are spread health's ruddy hues, 

E'en then life's little rest thy cruel power subdues. 

Oft I've beheld thee, in the glow of youth, 
Hid 'neath the blushing roses which there 
bloom'd ; 

And dropp'd a tear, for then thy cankering tooth 
I knew would never stay, till all consumed, 
In the cold vault of death he were entomb' d. 

But oh ! what sorrow did I feel, as swift, 

Insidious ravager, I saw thee fly 
Through fair Lucina's breast of whitest snow, 

Preparing swift her passage to the sky. 
Though still intelligence beam'd in the glance, 

The liquid lustre of her fine blue eye ; 
Yet soon did languid listlessness advance, 
And soon she calmly sunk in death's repugnant 
trance. 



KIRKE WHITE. 87 

Even when her end was swiftly drawing near, 
And dissolution hover'd o'er her head : 

Even then so beauteous did her form appear, 
That none who saw her but admiring said, 
Sure so much beauty never could be dead. 

Yet the dark lash of her expressive eye 

Bent lowly down upon the languid — 



FRAGMENT. 



Loud rage the winds without. — The wintry cloud 
O'er the cold northstar casts her flitting shroud ; 
And Silence, pausing in some snow-clad dale, 
Starts as she hears, by fits, the shrieking gale ; 
Where now, shut out from every still retreat, 
Her pine-clad summit, and her woodland seat, 
Shall Meditation, in her saddest mood, 
Retire o'er all her pensive stores to brood ? 
Shivering and blue the peasant eyes askance 
The drifted fleeces that around him dance, 
And hurries on his half-averted form, 
Stemming the fury of the sidelong storm. 
Him soon shall greet his snow-topp'd [cot of thatch], 
Soon shall his numb'd hand tremble on the latch, 
Soon from his chimney's nook the cheerful flame 
Diffuse a genial warmth throughout his frame ; 
Round the light fire, while roars the north wind loud, 
What merry groups of vacant faces crowd ; 



88 THE POEMS OF 

These hail his coming — these his meal prepare, 
And boast in all that cot no lurking care. 

What though the social circle be denied, 
Even Sadness brightens at her own fireside, 
Loves, with fix'd eye, to watch the fluttering blaze, 
While musing Memory dwells on former days ; 
Or Hope, bless' d spirit ! smiles — and still forgiven, 
Forgets the passport, while she points to Heaven. 
Then heap the fire — shut out the biting air, 
And from its station wheel the easy chair: 
Thus fenced and warm, in silent fit, 'tis sweet 
To hear without the bitter tempest beat, 
All, all alone — to sit, and muse, and sigh, 
The pensive tenant of obscurity. 



TO A FRIEND IN DISTRESS, 

WHO, WHEN THE AUTHOR REASONED WITH HIM CALMLY. 
ASKED, "IF HE DID NOT FEEL FOR HIM." 

" Do I not feel ?" The doubt is keen as steel. 
Yea, I do feel — most exquisitely feel ; 
My heart can weep, when, from my downcast eye, 
I chase the tear, and stem the rising sigh : 
Deep buried there I close the rankling dart, 
And smile the most when heaviest is my heart. 
On this I act — whatever pangs surround, 
'Tis magnanimity to hide the wound ! 



KIRKE WHITE. 89 

When all was new, and life was in its spring, 
I lived an unloved, solitary thing ; 
Even then I learned to bury deep from day 
The piercing cares that wore my youth away : 
! Even then I learn'd for others* cares to feel ; 
Even then I wept I had not power to heal : 
; Even then, deep-sounding through the nightly 

gloom, [wretched's doom. 

I heard the wretched' s groan, and mourn' d the 
Who were my friends in youth ? — The midnight 

fire — 
The silent moonbeam, or the starry choir ; 
To these I 'plain' d, or turn'd from outer sight, 
To bless my lonely taper's friendly light ; 
I never yet could ask, howe'er forlorn, 
For vulgar pity mix'd with vulgar scorn ; 
The sacred source of woe I never ope, 
My breast's my coffer, and my God's my hope. 
But that I do feel, Time, my friend, will show, 
Though the cold crowd the secret never know ; 
With them I laugh — yet, when no eye can see, 
I weep for nature, and I weep for thee. 
Yes, thou didst wrong me, . . . ; I fondly thought, 
In thee I'd found the friend my heart had sought !, 
I fondly thought, that thou couldst pierce the guise, 
And read the truth that in my bosom lies ; 
I fondly thought, ere Time's last days were gone, 
Thy heart and mine had mingled into one ! 
Yes — and they yet will mingle. Days and years 
Will fly, and leave us partners in our tears : 



90 THE POEiMS OF 

We then shall feel that friendship has a power 
To soothe affliction in her darkest hour ; 
Time's trial o'er, shall clasp each other's hand, 
And wait the passport to a better land. 
Thine, 

H. K. WHITE. 
Half past Eleven o'clock at Night. 



CHRISTMAS DAY. 
1804. 

Yet once more, and once more, awake, my Harp, 
From silence and neglect — one lofty strain ; 
Lofty, yet wilder than the winds of Heaven, 
And speaking mysteries more than words can tell, 
I ask of thee ; for I, with hymnings high, 
Would join the dirge of the departing year. 

Yet with no wintry garland from the woods, 
Wrought of the leafless branch, or ivy sear, 
Wreathe I thy tresses, dark December ! now ; 
Me higher quarrel calls, with loudest song, 
And fearful joy, to celebrate the day 
Of the Redeemer. — Near two thousand suns 
Have set their seals upon the rolling lapse 
Of generations, since the dayspring first 
Beam'd from on high ! — Now to the mighty mass 
Of that increasing aggregate we add 
One unit more. Space in comparison 
How small, yet mark'd with how much misery ; 






KIRKE WHITE. 91 

Wars, famines, and the fury, Pestilence, 
Over the nations hanging her dread scourge ; 
The oppressed, too, in silent bitterness, 
Weeping their sufferance ; and the arm of wrong, 
Forcing the scanty portion from the weak, 
And steeping the lone widow's couch with tears. 

So has the year been character'd with woe 
In Christian land, and mark'd with wrongs and 

crimes ; 
Yet 'twas not thus He taught — not thus He lived, 
Whose birth we this day celebrate with prayer 
And much thanksgiving. He, a man of woes, 
Went on the way appointed, — path, though rude. 
Yet borne with patience still : — He came to cheer 
The broken-hearted, to raise up the sick, 
And on the wandering and benighted mind 
To pour the light of truth. O task divine ! 
O more than angel teacher ! He had words 
To soothe the barking waves, and hush the winds ; 
And when the soul was toss'd in troubled seas, 
Wrapp'd in thick darkness and the howling storm, 
He, pointing to the star of peace on high, 
Arm'd it with holy fortitude, and bade it smile 

At the surrounding wreck. 

When with deep agony his heart was rack'd, 
Not for himself the tear-drop dew'd his cheek, 
For them He wept, for them to Heaven He pray'd, 
His persecutors — " Father, pardon them, 
They know not what they do/' 

Angels of Heaven, 
Ye who beheld Him fainting on the cross. 



THE POEMS OF 

And did him homage, say, may mortal join 

The halleluiahs of the risen God ? 

Will the faint voice and groveling song be heard 

Amid the seraphim in light divine ? 

Yes, he will deign, the Prince of Peace will deign, 

For mercy, to accept the hymn of faith, 

Low though it be and humble. Lord of life, 

The Christ, the Comforter, thine advent now 

Fills my uprising soul. — I mount, I fly 

Far o'er the skies, beyond the rolling orbs ; 

The bonds of flesh dissolve, and earth recedes, 

And care, and pain, and sorrow are no more. 



NELSONI MORS. 

Yet once again, my Harp, yet once again 

One ditty more, and on the mountain ash 

I will again suspend thee. I have felt 

The warm tear frequent on my cheek, since last, 

At eventide, when all the winds were hush'd, 

I woke to thee the melancholy song. 

Since then with Thoughtfulness, a maid severe, 

I've journey 'd, and have learn'd to shape the freaks 

Of frolic fancy to the line of truth ; 

Not unrepining, for my froward heart 

Still turns to thee, mine Harp, and to the flow 

Of spring-gales past — the woods and storied haunts 

Of my not songless boyhood. — Yet once more, 

Not fearless, I will wake thy tremulous tones, 



KIRKE WHITE. 93 

My long-neglected Harp. He must not sink ; 
The good, the brave — he must not, shall not sink 
Without the meed of some melodious tear. 

Though from the Muse's chalice I may pour 
No precious dews of Aganippe's well, 
Or Castaly, — though from the morning cloud 
I fetch no hues to scatter on his hearse : 
Yet will I wreathe a garland for his brows, 
Of simple flowers, such as the hedge-rows scent 
Of Britain, my loved country ; and with tears 
Most eloquent, yet silent, I will bathe 
Thy honour'd corse, my Nelson, tears as warm 
And honest as the ebbing blood that flow'd 
Fast from thy honest heart. Thou, Pity, too, 
If ever I have loved, with faltering step, 
To follow thee in the cold and starless night, 
To the top-crag of some rain-beaten cliff; 
And, as I heard the deep gun bursting loud 
Amid the pauses of the storm, have pour'd 
Wild strains, and mournful, to the hurrying winds. 
Thy dying souPs viaticum ; if oft 
Amid the carnage of the field I've sate 
With thee upon the moonlight throne, and sung 
To cheer the fainting soldier's dying soul, 
With mercy and forgiveness — visitant 
Of Heaven — sit thou upon my harp, 
And give it feeling, which were else too cold 
For argument so great, for theme so high. 

How dimly on that morn the sun arose, 
'Kerchief'd in mists, and tearful, when — 



94 THE POEMS OF 



EPIGRAM ON ROBERT BLOOMFIELD. 

Bloomfield, thy happy omen'd name 
Ensures continuance to thy fame ; 
Both sense and truth this verdict give, 
While fields shall bloom, thy name shall live ! 



ELEGY 

OCCASIONED BY THE DEATH Of MR. GILL, WHO WAS 

DROWNED IN THE RIVER TRENT, WHILE 

BATHING, 9TH AUGUST, 1802. 

He sunk, the impetuous river roll'd along, 
The sullen wave betray'd his dying breath ; 

And rising sad the rustling sedge among, 

The gale of evening touch'd the cords of death. 

Nymph of the Trent ! why didst thou not appear 
To snatch the victim from thy felon wave ! 

Alas ! too late thou earnest to embalm his bier, 
And deck with waterflags his early grave. 

Triumphant, riding o'er its tumid prey, 
Rolls the red stream in sanguinary pride ; 

While anxious crowds, in vain, expectant stay? 
And ask the swoln corse from the murdering tide. 



K1RKE WHITE. 95 

The stealing tear-drop stagnates in the eye, 
The sudden sigh by friendship's bosom proved, 

I mark them rise — I mark the general sigh ! 
Unhappy youth ! and wert thou so beloved ? 

On thee, as lone I trace the Trent's green brink, 
When the dim twilight slumbers on the glade ; 

On thee my thoughts shall dwell, nor Fancy shrink 
To hold mysterious converse with thy shade. 

Of thee, as early, I, with vagrant feet, 

Hail the gray-sandal'd morn in Colwick's vale, 

Of thee my sylvan reed shall warble sweet, 
And wild-wood echoes shall repeat the tale. 

And, oh ! ye nymphs of Paeon ! who preside 
O'er running rill and salutary stream. 

Guard ye in future well the halcyon tide 

From the rude death-shriek and the dying 
scream. 



INSCRIPTION FOR A MONUMENT TO THE 
MEMORY OF COWPER. 

Reader ! if with no vulgar sympathy 

Thou view'st the wreck of genius and of worth, 

Stay thou thy footsteps near this hallow'd spot. 

Here Cowper rests. Although renown have made 

His name familiar to thine ear, this stone 

May tell thee that his virtues were above 

The common portion : — that the voice, now hush'd 



96 THE POEMS OF 

In death, was once serenely querulous 
With pity's tones, and in the ear of woe 
Spake music. Now, forgetful, at thy feet, 
His tired head presses on its last long rest, 
Still tenant of the tomb ; — and on the cheek, 
Once warm with animation's lambent flush, 
Sits the pale image of unmark'd decay. 
Yet mourn not. He had chosen the better part ; 
And, these sad garments of Mortality 
Put off, we trust, that to a happier land 
He went a light and gladsome passenger. 
Sigh'st thou for honours, reader ? Call to mind 
That glory's voice is impotent to pierce 
The silence of the tomb ! but virtue blooms 
Even on the wreck of life, and mounts the skies. 
So gird thy loins with lowliness, and walk 
With Cowper on the pilgrimage of Christ. 



"I'M PLEASED, AND YET I'M SAD. 

When twilight steals along the ground, 
And all the bells are rino-in^ round, 

One, two, three, four, and five, 
I at my study window sit, 
And, wrapp'd in many a musing fit, 

To bliss am all alive. 

But though impressions calm and sweet 
Thrill round my heart a holy heat, 
And I am inly glad ; 



KIRKE WHITE. 97 

The tear-drop stands in either eye, 
And yet I cannot tell thee why, 

I'm pleased, and yet I'm sad. 

The silvery rack that flies away, 
Like mortal life or pleasure's ray, 

Does that disturb my breast ? 
Nay, what have I, a studious man, 
To do with life's unstable plan, 

Or pleasure's fading vest ? 

Is it that here I must not stop, 
But o'er yon blue hill's woody top 

Must bend my lonely way ? 
No, surely no ! for give but me 
My own fireside, and I shall be 

At home where'er I stray. 

Then is it that yon steeple there, 
With music sweet shall fill the air, 

When thou no more canst hear ? 
Oh, no ! oh, no ! for then, forgiven, 
I shall be with my God in heaven, 

Released from every fear. 

Then whence it is I cannot tell, 
But there is some mysterious spell 

That holds me when I'm glad ; 
And so the tear-drop fills my eye, 
When yet in truth I know not why, 

Or wherefore I am sad. 



THE POEMS OF 



SOLITUDE. 

It is not that my lot is low, 
That bids this silent tear to flow ; 
It is not grief that bids me moan ; 
It is that I am all alone. 

In woods and glens I love to roam, 
When the tired hedger hies him home : 
Or by the woodland pool to rest, 
When pale the star looks on its breast. 

Yet when the silent evening sighs, 
With hallow'd airs and symphonies, 
My spirit takes another tone, 
And sighs that it is all alone. 

The autumn leaf is sere and dead, 
It floats upon the water's bed ; 
I would not be a leaf, to die 
Without recording sorrow's sigh ! 

The woods and winds, with sullen wail, 
Tell all the same unvaried tale ; 
I've none to smile when I am free, 
And when I sigh, to sigh with me. 

Yet in my dreams a form I view, 
That thinks on me, and loves me too; 
I start, and when the vision's flown, 
I weep that I am all alone. 



KIRKE WHITE. 99 



If far from me the Fates remove 
Domestic peace, connubial love, 
The prattling ring-, the social cheer, 
Affection's voice, affection's tear, 
Ye sterner powers, that bind the heart, 
To me your iron aid impart ! 

teach me, when the nights are chill, 
And my fireside is lone and still ; 
When to the blaze that crackles near, 

1 turn a tired and pensive ear, 

And Nature conquering bids me sigh 
For love's soft accents whispering nigh ; 

teach me, on that heavenly road, 
That leads to Truth's occult abode, 
To wrap my soul in dreams sublime, 
Till earth and care no more be mine. 
Let bless'd Philosophy impart 

Her soothing measures to my heart ; 
And while with Plato's ravish'd ears 

1 list the music of the spheres, 
Or on the mystic symbols pore, 
That hide the Chald's sublimer lore, 
I shall not brood on summers gone, 
Nor think that I am all alone. 



Fanny ! upon thy breast I may not lie ! 

Fanny ! thou dost not hear me when I speak ! 
Where art thou, love ? — Around I turn my eye, 

And as I turn, the tear is on my cheek. 



100 THE POEMS OF 

Was it a dream ? or did my love behold 

Indeed my lonely couch ? — Methought the breath 

Fann'd not her bloodless lip ; her eye was cold 
And hollow, and the livery of death 

Invested her pale forehead. Sainted maid ! 

My thoughts oft rest with thee in thy cold grave, 
Through the long wintry night, when wind and 
wave 

Rock the dark house where thy poor head is laid. 

Yet, hush ! my fond heart, hush ! there is a shore 
Of better promise ; and I know at last, 
When the long sabbath of the tomb is past, 

We two shall meet in Christ — to part no more. 



FRAGMENTS.* 

Saw'st thou that light? exclaim'd the youth, and 

paused : 
Through yon dark firs it glanced, and on the stream 
That skirts the woods it for a moment play'd. 
Again, more light it gleam' d, — or does some sprite 
Delude mine eyes with shapes of wood and streams, 
And lamp far beaming through the thicket's gloom, 
As from some bosom'd cabin, where the voice 
Of revelry, or thrifty watchfulness, 
Keeps in the lights at this unwonted hour ? 
No sprite deludes mine eyes, — the beam now glows 
W r ith steady lustre. — Can it be the moon 

* These Fragments were written upon the back of his 
mathematical papers, during the last year of his life. 



KIRKE WHITE. 101 

Who, hidden long by the invidious veil 

That blots the Heavens, now sets behind the woods ? 

No moon to-night has look'd upon the sea 

Of clouds beneath her, answer'd Rudiger, 

She has been sleeping with Endymion. 



The pious man, 
In this bad world, when mists and couchant storms 
Hide Heaven's fine circlet, springs aloft in faith 
Above the clouds that threat him, to the fields 
Of ether, where the day is never veil'd 
With intervening vapours, and looks down 
Serene upon the troublous sea, that hides 
The earth's fair breast, that sea whose nether face 
To groveling mortals frowns and darkens all ; 
But on whose billowy back, from man conceal'd, 
The glaring sunbeam plays. 



Lo ! on the eastern summit, clad in gray, 
Morn, like a horseman girt for travel, comes, 
And from his tower of mist, 
Night's watchman hurries down. 



There was a little bird upon that pile ; 
It perch'd upon a ruin'd pinnacle, 
And made sweet melody. 



102 THE POEMS OF 

The song was soft, yet cheerful, and most clear, 
For other note none swell'd the air but his. 
It seem'd as if the little chorister, 
Sole tenant of the melancholy pile, 
Were a lone hermit, outcast from his kind, 
Yet withal cheerful. I have heard the note 
Echoing so lonely o'er the aisle forlorn, 
Much musing — 



pale art thou, my lamp, and faint 

Thy melancholy ray : 
When the still night's unclouded saint 

Is walking on her way. 
Through my lattice leaf embower'd, 
Fair she sheds her shadowy beam, 
And o'er my silent sacred room 
Casts a checker'd twilight gloom ; 
I throw aside the learned sheet, 

1 cannot choose but gaze, she looks so mildly sweet. 

Sad vestal, why art thou so fair, 
Or why am I so frail ? 

Methinks thou lookest kindly on me, Moon, 

And cheerest my lone hours with sweet regards ! 
Surely like me thou'rt sad, but dost not speak 
Thy sadness to the cold unheeding crowd ; 
So mournfully composed, o'er yonder cloud 
Thou shinest, like a cresset, beaming far 
From the rude watch-tower, o'er the Atlantic wave. 



KIRKE WHITE. 103 

O give me music — for my soul doth faint ; 

I'm sick of noise and care, and now mine ear 
Longs for some air of peace, some dying plaint, 

That may the spirit from its cell un sphere. 

Hark how it falls ! and now it steals along, 
Like distant bells upon the lake at eve, 

When all is still ; and now it grows more strong, 
As when the choral train their dirges weave, 

Mellow and many -voiced ; where every close, 
O'er the old minster roof, in echoing waves 
reflows. 

Oh ! I am wrapt aloft. My spirit soars 

Beyond the skies, and leaves the stars behind. 

Lo ! angels lead me to the happy shores, 
And floating paeans fill the buoyant wind. 

Farewell ! base earth, farewell ! my soul is freed, 

Far from its clayey cell it springs, — 



And must thou go, and must we part ? 

Yes, Fate decrees, and I submit ; 
The pang that rends in twain my heart, 

Oh, Fanny, dost thou share in it ? 

Thy sex is fickle, — when away, 

Some happier youth may win thy — 



104 THE POEMS OF 

Ah ! who can say, however fair his view, 
Through what sad scenes his path may lie ? 
Ah ! who can give to Others' woes his sigh, 

Secure his own will never need it too ? 

Let thoughtless youth its seeming joys pursue, 
Soon will they learn to scan with thoughtful eye 
The illusive past and dark futurity ; 

Soon will they know — 



Hush'd is the lyre — the hand that swept 
The low and pensive wires, 
Robb'd of its cunning, from the task retires. 

Yes — it is still — the lyre is still ; 

The spirit which its slumbers broke 

Hath pass'd away, — and that *veak hand that 
woke 
Its forest melodies hath lost its skill. 

Yet I would press you to my lips once more, 
Ye wild, yet withering flowers of poesy ; 

Yet would I drink the fragrance which ye pour, 
Mix'd with decaying odours : for to me 

Ye have beguiled the hours of infancy, 
As in the wood-paths of my native — 



KIRKE WHITE. 105 



When high romance o'er every wood and stream 

Dark lustre shed, my infant mind to fire, 
Spell-struck, and fill'd with many a wondering 
dream, 

First in the groves I woke the pensive lyre. 
All there was mystery then, the gust that woke 

The midnight echo was a spirit's dirge, 
And unseen fairies would the moon invoke 

To their light morrice by the restless surge. 
Now to my sober'd thought with life's false smiles, 

Too much . . . 
The vagrant Fancy spreads no more her wiles, 

And dark forebodings now my bosom fill. 



Once more, and yet once more, 

I give unto my harp a dark woven lay ; 
I heard the waters roar, 

I heard the flood of ages pass away. 
O thou, stern spirit, who dost dwell 

In thine eternal cell, 
Noting, gray chronicler ! the silent years, 

I saw thee rise, — I saw the scroll complete ; 

Thou spakest, and at thy feet 
The universe gave way. 



106 THE POEMS OF 



FRAGMENT OF AN ECCENTRIC DRAMA. 



WRITTEN AT A VERY EARLY AGE. 



THE DANCE OF THE CONSUMPTIVES. 

Ding-dong! ding-dong! 
Merry, merry go the bells, 

Ding-dong ! ding-dong ! 
Over the heath, over the moor, and over the dale, 

" Swinging slow with sullen roar," 
Dance, dance away the jocund roundelay ! 
Ding-dong, ding-dong calls us aw T ay. 

Round the oak, and round the elm, 

Merrily foot it o'er the ground ! 
The sentry ghost it stands aloof, 
So merrily, merrily foot it round. 
Ding-dong ! ding-dong ! 
Merry, merry go the bells, 
Swelling in the nightly gale, 
The sentry ghost, 
It keeps its post, 
And soon, and soon our sports must fail : 
But let us trip the nightly ground, 
While the merry, merry bells ring round. 



KIRKE WHITE. 107 

Hark ! hark ! the deathwatch ticks ! 
See, see, the win ding-sheet ! 

Our dance is done, 

Our race is run, 
And we must lie at the alder's feet ! 

Ding-dong ! ding-dong ! 

Merry, merry go the bells, 
Swinging o'er the weltering wave ! 

And we must seek 

Our deathbeds bleak, 
Where the green sod grows upon the grave. - 

They vanish — The Goddess of Consumption descends, ha- 
bited in a sky-blue robe, attended by mournful music. 

Come, Melancholy, sister mine ! 

Cold the dews, and chill the night ! 
Come from thy dreary shrine ! 

The wan moon climbs the heavenly height, 
And underneath her sickly ray 
Troops of. squalid spectres play, 
And the dying mortals' groan 
Startles the night on her dusky throne. 
Come, come, sister mine ! 
Gliding on the pale moonshine : 
We'll ride at ease 
On the tainted breeze, 
And oh! our sport will be divine. 

The Goddess of Melancholy advances out of a deep glen 
in the rear, habited in black, and covered with a thick 
veil. — She speaks. 



108 THE POEMS OF 

Sister, from my dark abode, 
Where nests the raven, sits the toad, 
Hither I come, at thy command : 
Sister, sister, join thy hand ! 
I will smooth the way for thee, 
Thou shalt furnish food for me. 
Come, let us speed our way 
Where the troops of spectres play. 
To charnel-houses, churchyards drear, 
Where Death sits with a horrible leer, 
A lasting grin, on a throne of bones, 
And skim along the blue tombstones. 
Come, let us speed away, 
Lay our snares, and spread our tether ! 
I will smooth the way for thee, 
Thou shalt furnish food for me ; 
And the grass shall wave 
O'er many a grave, 
Where youth and beauty sleep together. 

CONSUMPTION. 

Come, let us speed our way, 
Join our hands, and spread our tether ! 
I will furnish food for thee, 
Thou shalt smooth the way for me ! 
And the grass shall wave 
O'er many a grave, 
Where youth and beauty sleep together. 



KIRKE WHITE. 109 

MELANCHOLY. 

Hist, sister, hist ! who comes here ? 
Oh ! I know her by that tear, 
By that blue eye's languid glare, 
By her skin, and by her hair : 

She is mine, 

And she is thine, 
Now the deadliest draught prepare. 

CONSUMPTION. 

In the dismal night air dress 'd, 
I will creep into her breast : 
Flush her cheek, and bleach her skin, 
And feed on the vital fire within. 
Lover, do not trust her eyes, — 
When they sparkle most, she dies ! 
Mother, do not trust her breath, — 
Comfort she will breathe in death ! 
Father, do not strive to save her, — 
She is mine, and I must have her ! 
The coffin must be her bridal bed ! 
The winding-sheet must wrap her head ; 
The whispering winds must o'er her sigh, 
For soon in the grave the maid must lie : 

The worm it will riot 

On heavenly diet, 
When death has deflower 'd her eye. 

[They vanish. 
"While Consumption speaks, Angelina enters. 



110 THE POEMS OF 

ANGELINA. 

With* what a silent and dejected pace 

Dost thou, wan Moon ! upon thy way advance 

In the blue welkin's vault ! — Pale wanderer ! 

Hast thou too felt the pangs of hopeless love, 

That thus, with such a melancholy grace, 

Thou dost pursue thy solitary course ? 

Has thy Endymion, smooth-faced boy, forsook 

Thy widow'd breast — on which the spoiler oft 

Has nestled fondly, while the silver clouds 

Fantastic pillow'd thee, and the dim night, 

Obsequious to thy will, encurtain'd round 

With its thick fringe thy couch ? Wan traveller, 

How like thy fate to mine ! — Yet I have still 

One heavenly hope remaining, which thou lack'st ; 

My woes will soon be buried in the grave 

Of kind forgetfulness — my journey here, 

Though it be darksome, joyless, and forlorn, 

Is yet but short, and soon my weary feet 

Will greet the peaceful inn of lasting rest. 

But thou, unhappy Queen ! art doom'd to trace 

Thy lonely walk in the drear realms of night, 

While many a lagging age shall sweep beneath 

The leaden pinions of unshaken time ; 

Though not a hope shall spread its glittering hue 

To cheat thy steps along the weary way. 

* With how sad steps, O moon ! thou climb'st the skies, 
How silently, and with how wan a face ! 

Sir 1\ Sidney. 



KIRKE WHITE. Ill 

O that the sum of human happiness 

Should be so trifling, and so frail withal, 

That when possess'd, it is but lessen'd grief; 

And even then there's scarce a sudden gust 

That blows across the dismal waste of life, 

But bears it from the view. Oh ! who would shun 

The hour that cuts from earth, and fear to press 

The calm and peaceful pillows of the grave, 

And yet endure the various ills of life, 

And dark vicissitudes ! Soon, I hope, I feel, 

And am assured, that I shall lay my dead, 

My weary aching head, on its last rest, 

And on my lowly bed the grass-green sod 

Will flourish sweetly. And then they w T iil weep 

That one so young, and what they're pleased to call 

So beautiful, should die so soon. And tell 

How painful Disappointment's canker'd fang 

Wither'd the rose upon my maiden cheek. 

Oh, foolish ones ! why, I shall sleep so sweetly, 

Laid in my darksome grave, that they themselves 

Might envy me my rest ! And as for them, 

Who, on the score of former intimacy, 

May thus remembrance me — they must themselves 

Successive fall. 

Around the winter fire 
(When out-a-doors the biting frost congeals, 
And shrill the skater's irons on the pool 
Ring loud, as by the moonlight he performs 
His graceful evolutions) they not long 
Shall sit and chat of older times, and feats 



112 THE POEMS OF 

Of early youth, but silent, one by one, 
Shall drop into their shrouds. Some, in their age, 
Ripe for the sickle ; others young, like me, 
And falling green beneath the untimely stroke. 
Thus, in short time, in the churchyard forlorn, 
Where I shall lie, my friends will lay them down, 
And dwell with me, a happy family. 
And oh ! thou cruel, yet beloved youth, 
Who now hast left me hopeless here to mourn, 
Do thou but shed one tear upon my corse 
And say that I was gentle, and deserved 
A better lover, and I shall forgive 
All, all thy wrongs ; — and then do thou forget 
The hapless Margaret, and be as bless'd 
As wish can make thee — Laugh, and play, and sing 
With thy dear choice, and never think of me. 
Yet hist, I hear a step. — In this dark wood — 



TO A FRIEND. 

WRITTEN AT A VERY EARLY AGE. 

I've read, my friend, of Dioclesian, 
And many another noble Grecian, 
Who wealth and palaces resign'd, 
In cots the joys of peace to find ; 
Maximian's meal of turnip-tops 
(Disgusting food to dainty chops) 



KIRKE WHITE. 113 

I've also read of, without wonder ; 

But such a cursed egregious blunder, 

As that a man of wit and sense 

Should leave his books to hoard up pence, — 

Forsake the loved Aonian maids 

For all the petty tricks of trades, 

I never, either now, or long since, 

Have heard of such a piece of nonsense ; 

That one who learning's joys hath felt, 

And at the Muse's altar knelt, 

Should leave a life of sacred leisure 

To taste the accumulating pleasure ; 

And, metamorphosed to an alley duck, 

Grovel in loads of kindred muck. 

Oh ! 'tis beyond my comprehension ! 

A courtier throwing up his pension, — 

A lawyer working without a fee, — 

A parson giving charity, — 

A truly pious methodist preacher, — . 

Are not, egad, so out of nature. 

Had nature made thee half a fool, 

But given thee wit to keep a school, 

I had not stared at thy backsliding : 

But when thy wit I can confide in, 

When well I know thy just pretence 

To solid and exalted sense ; 

When well I know that on thy head 

Philosophy her lights hath shed, 

I stand aghast ! thy virtues sum to, 

I wonder what this world will come to ! 



114 THE POEMS OF 

Yet, whence this strain? shall I repine 
That thou alone dost singly shine ? 
Shall I lament that thou alone, 
Of men of parts, hast prudence known. 



LINES ON READING THE POEMS OF WARTOX. 

AGE FOURTEEN, 

Oh, Warton ! to thy soothing shell, 
Stretch'd remote in hermit cell, 
Where the brook runs babbling by, 
For ever I could listening lie ; 
And catching all the muses' fire, 
Hold converse with the tuneful quire. 

What pleasing themes thy page adorn, 
The ruddy streaks of cheerful morn, 
The pastoral pipe, the ode sublime, 
And Melancholy's mournful chime ! 
Each with unwonted graces shines 
In thy ever lovely lines. 

Thy muse deserves the lasting meed ; 
Attuning sweet the Dorian reed, 
Now the lovelorn swain complains, 
And sings his sorrows to the plains ; 
Now the sylvan scenes appear 
Through all the changes of the year ; 



KIRKE WHITE. 1 lc 

Or the elegiac strain 
Softly sings of mental pain, 
And mournful diapasons sail 
On the faintly dying gale. 

But, ah ! the soothing scene is o'er, 

On middle flight we cease to soar, 
For now the muse assumes a bolder sweep, 
Strikes on the lyric string her sorrows deep, 

In strains unheard before. 
Now, now the rising fire thrills high, 
Now, now to heaven's high realms we fly, 

And every throne explore : 
The soul entranced, on mighty wings, 
With all the poet's heat upsprings, 

And loses earthly woes ; 
Till all alarm'd at the giddy height, 
The Muse descends on gentler flight, 

And lulls the wearied soul to soft repose. 



FRAGMENT. 



The western gale, 



Mild as the kisses of connubial love, 
Plays round my languid limbs, as all dissolved, 
Beneath the ancient elm's fantastic shade 
I lie, exhausted with the noontide heat : 
While rippling o'er its deep worn pebble bed, 
The rapid rivulet rushes at my feet, 
Dispensing coolness. On the fringed marge 



116 THE POEMS OF 

Full many a floweret rears its head, — or pink, 
Or gaudy daffodil. 'Tis here, at noon, 
The buskin'd wood-nymphs from the heat retire, 
And lave them in the fountain ; here secure 
From Pan, or savage satyr, they disport : 
Or stretch'd supinely on the velvet turf, 
Lull'd by the laden bee, or sultry fly, 
Invoke the god of slumber. . . . 



And, hark ! how merrily, from distant tower, 
Ring round the village bells ! now on the gale 
They rise with gradual swell, distinct and loud ; 
Anon they die upon the pensive ear, 
Melting in faintest music. They bespeak 
A day of jubilee, and oft they bear, 
Commix'd along the unfrequented shore, 
The sound of village dance and tabor loud, 
Startling the musing ear of Solitude. 

Such is the jocund wake of Whitsuntide, 
When happy Superstition, gabbling eld ! 
Holds her unhurtful gambols. All the day 
The rustic revellers ply the mazy dance 
On the smooth shaven green, and then at eve 
Commence the harmless rites and auguries ; 
And many a tale of ancient days goes round. 

They tell of wizard seer, whose potent spells 
Could hold in dreadful thrall the labouring moon, 
Or draw the fix'd stars from their eminence, 
And still the midnight tempest. Then anon 
Tell of uncharnel'd spectres, seen to glide 



KIRKE WHITE. 117 

Along the lone wood's unfrequented path, 
Startling the 'nighted traveller ; while the sound 
Of undistinguished murmurs, heard to come 
From the dark centre of the deepening glen, 
Struck on his frozen ear. 

Oh, Ignorance ! 
Thou art fallen man's best friend ! With thee he 
In frigid apathy along his way. [speeds 

And never does the tear of agony 
Burn down his scorching cheek ; or the keen steel 
Of wounded feeling penetrate his breast. 

E'en now, as leaning on this fragrant bank, 
I taste of all the keener happiness 
Which sense refined affords — E'en now my heart 
Would fain induce me to forsake the world, 
Throw off these garments, and in shepherd's weeds, 
With a small flock, and short suspended reed, 
To sojourn in the woodland. — Then my thought 
Draws such gay pictures of ideal bliss, 
That I could almost err in reason's spite, 
And trespass on my judgment. 

Such is life : 
The distant prospect always seems more fair, 
And when attain'd, another still succeeds, 
Far fairer than before, — yet compass'd round 
With the same dangers, and the same dismay. 
And we poor pilgrims in this dreary maze, 
Still discontented, chase the fairy form 
Of unsubstantial Happiness, to find, 
When life itself is sinking in the strife, 
'Tis but an airy bubble and a cheat. 



118 THE POEMS OF 



COMMENCEMENT OF A POEM ON DESPAIR. 

Some to Aonian lyres of silver sound 

With winning elegance attune their song, 

Form'd to sink lightly on the soothed sense, 

And charm the soul with softest harmony : 

'Tis then that Hope with sanguine eye is seen 

Roving through Fancy's gay futurity ; 

Her heart light dancing to the sounds of pleasure, 

Pleasure of days to come. Memory, too, then 

Comes with her sister, Melancholy sad, 

Pensively musing on the scenes of youth, 

Scenes never to return.* 

Such subjects merit poets used to raise 

The attic verse harmonious ; but for me 

A dreadlier theme demands my backward hand, 

And bids me strike the strings of dissonance 

With frantic energy. 

'Tis wan Despair I sing, if sing I can 

Of him before whose blast the voice of Song, 

And Mirth, and Hope, and Happiness all fly, 

Nor ever dare return. His notes are heard 

At noon of night, where, on the coast of blood, 

The lacerated son of Angola 

Howls forth his sufferings to the moaning wind ; 

And, when the awful silence of the night 

Strikes the chill death-dew to the murderers heart, 

He speaks in every conscience-prompted word 

* Alluding to the two pleasing poems, the Pleasures of 
Hope and of Memory. 



KIRKE WHITE. 119 

Half utter'd, half suppress'd. 

'Tis him I sing — Despair — terrific name, 

Striking unsteadily the tremulous chord 

Of timorous terror — discord in the sound : 

For to a theme revolting as is this, 

Dare not I woo the maids of harmony, 

Who love to sit and catch the soothing sound 

Of lyre iEolian, or the martial bugle, 

Calling the hero to the field of glory, 

And firing him with deeds of high emprise 

And warlike triumph : but from scenes like mine 

Shrink they affrighted, and detest the bard 

Who dares to sound the hollow tones of horror. 

Hence, then, soft maids, 
And woo the silken zephyr in the bowers 
By Heliconia's sleep-inviting stream : 
For aid like yours I seek not ; 'tis for powers 
Of darker hue to inspire a verse like mine ! 
'Tis work for wizards, sorcerers, and fiends. 

Hither, ye furious imps of Acheron, 
Nurslings of hell, and beings shunning light, 
And all the myriads of the burning concave : 
Souls of the damned : — Hither, oh ! come and join 
The infernal chorus. 'Tis Despair I sing ! 
He, whose sole tooth inflicts a deadlier pang 
Than all your tortures join'd. Sing, sing Despair ! 
Repeat the sound, and celebrate his power ; 
Unite shouts, screams, and agonizing shrieks, 
Till the loud paean ring through hell's high vault, 
And the remotest spirits of the deep 
Leap from the lake, and join the dreadful song. 



120 THE POEMS OF 

THE EVE OF DEATH. 

IRREGULAR. 

Silence of death — portentous calm, 

Those airy forms that yonder fly 
Denote that your void foreruns a storm, 

That the hour of fate is nigh. 
I see, I see, on the dim mist borne, 

The Spirit of battles rear his crest ! 
I see, I see, that ere the morn, 

His spear will forsake its hated rest, 
And the widow'd wife of Larrendill will beat her 
naked breast. 

O'er the smooth bosom of the sullen deep, 

No softly ruffling zephyrs fly ; 
But nature sleeps a deathless sleep, 

For the hour of battle is nigh. 
Not a loose leaf waves on the dusky oak, 

But a creeping stillness reigns around ; 
Except when the raven, with ominous croak, 

On the ear does unwelcomely sound. 
I know, I know what this silence means ; 

I know what the raven saith — 
Strike, oh, ye bards ! the melancholy harp, 

For this is the eve of death. 

Behold, how along the twilight air 

The shades of our fathers glide ! 
There Morven fled, with the blood-drench'd hair, 

And Colma with gray side. 



KIRKE WHITE. 121 

No gale around its coolness flings, 

Yet sadly sigh the gloomy trees ; 
And hark ! how the harp's unvisited strings 

Sound sweet, as if swept by a whispering breeze ! 
'Tis done ! the sun he has set in blood ! 

He will never set more to the brave ; 
Let us pour to the hero the dirge of death, 

For to-morrow he hies to the grave. 



THANATOS. 

Oh ! who would cherish life, 
And cling unto this heavy clog of clay, 

Love this rude world of strife, 
Where glooms and tempests cloud the fairest day ; 
And where, 'neath outward smiles, 
Conceal'd the snake lies feeding on its prey, 
Where pitfalls lie in every flowery way, 

And sirens lure the wanderer to their wiles ! 
Hateful it is to me, 
Its riotous railings and revengeful strife ; 

I'm tired with all its screams and brutal shouts 
Dinning the ear ; — away — away with life ! 
And welcome, oh ! thou silent maid, 
Who in some foggy vault art laid, 
Where never daylight's dazzling ray 
Comes to disturb thy dismal sway ; 



122 THE POEMS OF 

And there amid unwholesome damps dost 

sleep, 
In such forgetful slumbers deep, 
That all thy senses stupified 
Are to marble petrified. 
Sleepy Death, I welcome thee ! 
Sweet are thy calms to misery. 
Poppies I will ask no more, 
Nor the fatal hellebore ; 
Death is the best, the only cure, 
His are slumbers ever sure. 
Lay me in the Gothic tomb, 
In whose solemn fretted gloom 
I may lie in mouldering state, 
With all the grandeur of the great : 
Over me, magnificent, 
Carve a stately monument ; 
Then thereon my statue lay, 
With hands in attitude to pray, 
And angels serve to hold my head, 
Weeping o'er the father dead. 
Duly too at close of day? 
Let the pealing organ play ; 
And while the harmonious thunders roll, 
Chant a vesper to my soul : 
Thus how sweet my sleep will be, 
Shut out from thoughtful misery ! 



KIRKE WHITE. 123 



ATHANATOS. 



Away with Death — away 
With all her sluggish sleeps and chilling damps, 

Impervious to the day, 
Where nature sinks into inanity. 
How can the soul desire 
Such hateful nothingness to crave, 
And yield with joy the vital fire 
To moulder in the grave ! 

Yet mortal life is sad, 
Eternal storms molest its sullen sky ; 

And sorrows ever rife 
Drain the sacred fountain dry — 
Away with mortal life ! 
But, hail the calm reality, 
The seraph Immortality ! 
Hail the heavenly bowers of peace, 
Where all the storms of passion cease. 
W T ild life's dismaying struggle o'er, 
The wearied spirit weeps no more ; 
But wears the eternal smile of joy, 
Tasting bliss without alloy. 
W T elcome, welcome, happy bowers, 
Where no passing tempest lowers ; 
But the azure heavens display 
The everlasting smile of day ; 



124 THE POEMS OF 

Where the choral seraph choir 

Strike to praise the harmonious lyre ; 

And the spirit sinks to ease, 

Lull'd by distant symphonies. 

Oh ! to think of meeting there 

The friends whose graves received our tear, 

The daughter loved, the wife adored, 

To our widow'd arms restored ; 

And all the joys which death did sever, 

Given to us again for ever ! 

Who would cling to wretched life, 

And hug the poison'd thorn of strife ; 

Who would not long from earth to fly, 

A sluggish senseless lump to lie, 

When the glorious prospect lies 

Full before his raptured eyes ? 



MUSIC. 

WRITTEN BETWEEN THE AGES OF FOURTEEN AND FIFTEEN, 
WITH A FEW SUBSEQUENT VERBAL ALTERATIONS. 

Music, all powerful o'er the human mind, 

Can still each mental storm, each tumult calm, 

Soothe anxious care on sleepless couch reclined, 
And e'en tierce Anger's furious rage disarm. 

At her command the various passions lie ; 

She stirs to battle, or she lulls to peace ; 
Melts the charmed soul to thrilling ecstasy, 

And bids the jarring world's harsh clangour cease. 



KIRKE WHITE. 125 

Her martial sounds can fainting troops inspire 
With strength unwonted, and enthusiasm raise ; 

Infuse new ardour, and with youthful fire 

Urge on the warrior gray with length of days. 

Far better she, when, with her soothing lyre, 
She charms the falchion from the savage grasp, 

And melting into pity vengeful ire, 

Looses the bloody breastplate's iron clasp. 

With her in pensive mood I long to roam, 

At midnight's hour, or evening's calm decline, 

And thoughtful o'er the falling streamlet's foam, 
In calm seclusion's hermit walks recline. 

Whilst mellow sounds from distant copse arise, 
Of softest flute or reeds harmonic join'd, 

With rapture thrill'd each worldly passion dies, 
And pleased attention claims the passive mind. 

Soft through the dell the dying strains retire, 
Then burst majestic in the varied swell; 

Now breathe melodious as the Grecian lyre, 
Or on the ear in sinking cadence dwell. 

Romantic sounds ! such is the bliss ye give, 

That heaven's bright scenes seem bursting on 
the soul, 

With joy I'd yield each sensual wish, to live 
For ever 'neath your undefiled control. 



126 THE POEMS OF 

Oh ! surely melody from heaven was sent, 

To cheer the soul when tired with human strife, 

To soothe the wayward heart by sorrow rent, 
And soften down the rugged road of life. 



ON BEING CONFINED TO SCHOOL ONE 
PLEASANT MORNING IN SPRING. 

WRITTEN AT THE AGE OF THIRTEEN. 

The morning sun's enchanting rays 
Now call forth every songster's praise ; 
Now the lark, with upward flight, 
Gaily ushers in the light ; 
While wildly warbling from each tree, 
The birds sing songs to Liberty. 
But for me no songster sings, 
For me no joyous lark upsprings ; 
For I, confined in gloomy school, 
Must own the pedant's iron rule, 
And far from sylvan shades and bowers, 
In durance vile must pass the hours ; 
There con the scholiast's dreary lines, 
Where no bright ray of genius shines, 
And close to rugged learning cling, 
While laughs around the jocund spring. 
How gladly would my soul forego 
All that arithmeticians know, 



KIRKE WHITE. 127 

Or stiff grammarians quaintly teach, 
Or all that industry can reach, 
To taste each morn of all the joys 
That with the laughing sun arise ; 
And unconstrain'd to rove along 
The bushy brakes and glens among ; 
And woo the muse's gentle power 
In unfrequented rural bower : 
But, ah ! such heaven-approaching joys 
Will never greet my longing eyes ; 
Still will they cheat in vision fine, 
Yet never but in fancy shine. 

Oh, that I were the little wren 
That shrilly chirps from yonder glen ! 
Oh, far away I then would rove 
To some secluded bushy grove ; 
There hop and sing with careless glee, 
Hop and sing at liberty ; 
And, till death should stop my lays, 
Far from men would spend my days. 



TO CONTEMPLATION. 

Thee do I own, the prompter of my joys, 
The soother of my cares, inspiring peace ; 
And I will ne'er forsake thee. Men may rave, 
And blame and censure me, that I don't tie 
My every thought down to the desk, and spend 
The morning of my life in adding figures 



128 THE POEMS OF 

With accurate monotony : that so 

The good things of the world may be my lot, 

And I might taste the blessedness of wealth : 

But, oh ! I was not made for money getting ; 

For me no much respected plum awaits. 

Nor civic honour, envied. For as still 

I tried to cast with school dexterity 

The interesting sums, my vagrant thoughts 

Would quick revert to many a woodland haunt, 

Which fond remembrance cherish'd, and the pen 

Dropp'd from my senseless fingers as I pictured, 

In my mind's eye, how on the shores of Trent 

I erewhile wander'd with my early friends 

In social intercourse. And then I'd think 

How contrary pursuits had thrown us wide, 

One from the other, scatter'd o'er the globe ; 

They were set down with sober steadiness, 

Each to his occupation. I alone, 

A wayward youth, misled by Fancy's vagaries, 

Remain'd unsettled, insecure, and veering 

With every wind to every point of the compass. 

Yes, in the countinghouse I could indulge 

In fits of close abstraction ; yea, amid 

The busy bustling crowds could meditate, 

And send my thoughts ten thousand leagues away 

Beyond the Atlantic, resting on my friend. 

Ay, Contemplation, even in earliest youth 

I woo'd thy heavenly influence ! I would walk 

A weary way when all my toils were done, 

To lay myself at night in some lone wood, 



KIRKE WHITE. 129 

And hear the sweet song of the nightingale. 

Oh, those were times of happiness, and still 

To memory doubly dear ; for growing years 

Had not then taught me man was made to mourn ; 

And a short hour of solitary pleasure, 

Stolen from sleep, was ample recompense 

For all the hateful bustles of the day. 

My opening mind was ductile then, and plastic, 

And soon the marks of care were worn away, 

While I was sway'd by every novel impulse, 

Yielding to all the fancies of the hour. 

But it has now assumed its character ; 

Mark'd by strong lineaments, its haughty tone, 

Like the firm oak, would sooner break than bend. 

Yet still, oh, Contemplation ! I do love 

To indulge thy solemn musings ; still the same 

With thee alone I know to melt and weep, 

In thee alone delighting. Why along 

The dusky tract of commerce should I toil, 

When, with an easy competence content, 

I can alone be happy ; where with thee 

I may enjoy the loveliness of Nature, 

And loose the wings of Fancy ? Thus alone 

Can I partake of happiness on earth ; 

And to be happy here is man's chief end, 

For to be happy he must needs be good. 



130 THE POEMS OF 

MY OWN CHARACTER. 

ADDRESSED (DURING ILLNESS) TO A LADY. 

Dear Fanny, I mean, now I'm laid on the shelf 
To give you a sketch — ay, a sketch of myself. 
'Tis a pitiful subject, I frankly confess, 
And one it would puzzle a painter to dress ; 
But, however, here goes, and as sure as a gun, 
I'll tell all my faults like a penitent nun ; 
For I know, for my Fanny, before I address her, 
She won't be a cynical father confessor. 

Come, come, 'twill not do ! put that curling brow 
down ; 
You can't, for the soul of you, learn how to frown. 
Well, first I premise, it's my honest conviction, 
That my breast is a chaos of all contradiction ; 
Religious — deistic — now loyal and warm ; 
Then a dagger-drawn democrat hot for reform : 
This moment a fop, that, sententious as Titus ; 
Democritus now, and anon Heraclitus ; 
Now laughing and pleased, like a child with a 

rattle ; 
Then vex'd to the soul with impertinent tattle ; 
Now moody and sad, now unthinking and gay, 
To all points of the compass I veer in a day. 

I'm proud and disdainful to Fortune's gay child, 
But to Poverty's offspring submissive and mild ; 



KIRKE WHITE. 131 

As rude as a boor, and as rough in dispute ; 

Then as for politeness — oh ! dear — I'm a brute ! 

I show no respect where I never can feel it ; 

And as for contempt, take no pains to conceal it. 

And so in the suite, by these laudable ends, 

I've a great many foes, and a very few friends. 
And yet,, my dear Fanny, there are who can feel 

That this proud heart of mine is not fashion 'd of 
steel. 

It can love (can it not ?)— it can hate, I am sure ; 

And it's friendly enough, though in friends it be 
poor. 

For itself though it bleed not, for others it bleeds ; 

If it have not ripe virtues, Pm sure it's the seeds ; 

And though far from faultless, or even so-so, 

I think it may pass as our worldly things go. 
Well, I've told you my frailties without any 
gloss ; 

Then as to my virtues, I'm quite at a loss ! 

I think I'm devout, and yet I can't say, 

But in process of time I may get the wrong way. 

I'm a general lover, if that's commendation, 

And yet can't withstand you know whose fasci- 
nation, 

But I find that amidst all my tricks and devices, 

In fishing for virtues, I'm pulling up vices ; 

So as for the good, why, if I possess it, 

I am not yet learned enough to express it. 
You yourself must examine the lovelier side, 

And after your every art you have tried, 



132 THE POEMS OF 

Whatever my faults, I may venture to say, 

Hypocrisy never will come in your way. 

I am upright, I hope ; I'm downright, I'm clear ! 

And I think my worst foe must allow I'm sincere ; 

And if ever sincerity glow'd in my breast, 

Tis now when I swear . . 



LINES WRITTEN IN WILFORD CHURCHYARD. 

ON RECOVERY FROM SICKNESS. 

Here would I wish to sleep. This is the spot 
Which I have long mark'd out to lay my bones in. 
Tired out and wearied with the riotous world, 
Beneath this yew I w T ould be sepulchred. 
It is a lovely spot ! The sultry sun, 
From his meridian height, endeavours vainly 
To pierce the shadowy foliage, while the zephyr 
Comes wafting gently o'er the rippling Trent, 
And plays about my wan cheek. 'Tis a nook 
Most pleasant. Such a one perchance did Gray 
Frequent, as with a vagrant muse he wanton'd. 

Come, I will sit me down and meditate, 
For I am wearied with my summers walk ; 
And here I may repose in silent ease ; 
And thus, perchance, when life's sad journey's o'er, 
My harassed soul, in this same spot, may find 
The haven of its rest — beneath this sod 
Perchance may sleep it sweetly, sound as death. 



KIRKE WHITE. 133 

I would not have my corpse cemented down 
With brick and stone, defrauding the poor earth- 
Of its predestined dues ; no, I would lie [worm 
Beneath a little hillock, grass o'ergrown, 
Swath'd down with osiers, just as sleep the cotters. 
Yet may not undistinguish'd be my grave ; 
But there at eve may some congenial soul 
Duly resort, and shed a pious tear, 
The good man's benison — no more I ask. 
And, oh ! (if heavenly beings may look down 
From where, with cherubim, inspired they sit, 
Upon this little dim-discover'd spot, 
The earth,) then will I cast a glance below 
On him who thus my ashes shall embalm ; 
And I will weep too, and will bless the wanderer, 
Wishing he may not long be doom'd to pine 
In this low-thoughted world of darkling woe, 
But that, ere long, he reach his kindred skies. 

Yet 'twas a silly thought, as if the body, 
Mouldering beneath the surface of the earth, 
Could taste the sweets of summer scenery, 
And feel the freshness of the balmy breeze ! 
Yet nature speaks within the human bosom, 
And, spite of reason, bids it look beyond 
His narrow verge of being, and provide 
A decent residence for its clayey shell, 
Endear 'd to it by time. And who would lay 
His body in the city burial place, 
To be thrown up again by some rude sexton, 
And yield its narrow house another tenant, 
Ere the moist flesh had mingled w T ith the dust, 



134 THE POEMS OF 

Ere the tenacious hair had left the scalp, 

Exposed to insult lewd, and wantonness? 

No, I will lay me in the village ground ; 

There are the dead respected. The poor hind, 

Unletter'd as he is, would scorn to invade 

The silent resting place of death. Fve seen 

The labourer, returning from his toil, 

Here stay his steps, and call his children round, 

And slowly spell the rudely sculptured rhymes, 

And, in his rustic manner, moralize. 

I've mark'd with what a silent awe he'd spoken, 

With head uncover'd, his respectful manner, 

And all the honours which he paid the grave, 

And thought on cities, where e'en cemeteries, 

Bestrew'd with all the emblems of mortality, 

Are not protected from the drunken insolence 

Of wassailers profane, and wanton havoc. 

Grant, Heaven, that here my pilgrimage may close ! 

Yet, if this be denied, where'er my bones 

May lie — or in the city's crowded bounds, 

Or scatter'd wide o'er the huge sweep of waters, 

Or left a prey on some deserted shore 

To the rapacious cormorant, — yet still, 

(For why should sober reason cast away 

A thought which soothes the soul ?) yet still my spirit 

Shall wing its way to these my native regions, 

And hover o'er this spot. Oh, then I'll think 

Of times when I was seated 'neath this yew 

In solemn rumination ; and will smile 

With joy that I have got my long'd release. 



KIRKE WHITE. 135 



VERSES. 

Thou base repiner at another's joy, 

Whose eye turns green at merit not thine own, 
Oh, far away from generous Britons fly, 
And find on meaner climes a fitter throne. 
Away, away, it shall not be, 

Thou shalt not dare defile our plains ; 
The truly generous heart disdains 
Thy meaner, lowlier fires, while he 
Joys at another's joy, and smiles at other's jollity. 

Triumphant monster ! though thy schemes suc- 
ceed — 

Schemes laid in Acheron, the brood of night, 
Yet, but a little while, and nobly freed, 

Thy happy victim will emerge to light ; 
When o'er his head in silence that reposes 

Some kindred soul shall come to drop a tear ; 
Then will his last cold pillow turn to roses, 

Which thou hadst planted with the thorn severe ; 
Then will thy baseness stand confess'd, and all 
Will curse the ungenerous fate, that bade a Poet 
fall. 



136 THE POEMS OF 

Yet, ah ! thy arrows are too keen, too sure : 

Couldst thou not pitch upon another prey ? 
Alas ! in robbing him thou robb'st the poor, 

Who only boast what thou wouldst take away. 
See the lone Bard at midnight study sitting, 

O'er his pale features streams his dying lamp ; 
While o'er fond Fancy's pale perspective flitting, 

Successive forms their fleet ideas stamp. 
Yet say, is bliss upon his brow impress'd ? [live ? 

Does jocund Health in Thought's still mansion 
Lo, the cold dews that on his temples rest, 

That short quick sigh — their sad responses give. 

And canst thou rob a poet of his song ; 

Snatch from the bard his trivial meed of praise ? 
Small are his gains, nor does he hold them long ; 

Then leave, oh, leave him to enjoy his lays 
While yet he lives — for to his merits just, 

Though future ages join his fame to raise, 
Will the loud trump awake his cold unheeding dust ? 



LINES. 



Yes, my stray steps have wander'd, wander d far 
From thee, and long, heart-soothing Poesy ! 
And many a flower, which in the passing time 
My heart hath register'd, nipp'd by the chill 



KIRKE WHITE. 137 

Of undeserved neglect, hath shrunk and died. 
Heart-soothing Poesy ! Though thou hast ceased 
To hover o'er the many-voiced strings 
Of my long silent lyre, yet thou canst still 
Call the warm tear from its thrice hallow'd cell, 
And with recalled images of bliss 
Warm my reluctant heart. Yes, I would throw, 
Once more would throw a quick and hurried hand 
O'er the responding chords. It hath not ceased — 
It cannot, will not cease ; the heavenly warmth 
Plays round my heart, and mantles o'er my cheek ; 
Still, though unbidden, plays. Fair Poesy ! 
The summer and the spring, the wind and rain, 
Sunshine and storm, with various interchange, 
Have mark'd full many a day, and week, and month, 
Since by dark wood, or hamlet far retired, 
Spell-struck, with thee I loiter'd. Sorceress ! 
I cannot burst thy bonds. It is but lift 
Thy blue eyes to that deep-bespangled vault, 
Wreathe thy enchanted tresses round thine arm, 
And mutter some obscure and charmed rhyme. 
And I could follow thee, on thy night's w T ork, 
Up to the regions of thrice chasten'd fire, 
Or, in the caverns of the ocean flood, 
Thrid the light mazes of thy volant foot. 
Yet other duties call me, and mine ear 
Must turn away from the high minstrelsy 
Of thy soul-trancing harp, unwillingly 
Must turn away ; there are severer strains 
(And surely they are sweet as ever smote 



138 THE POEMS OF 

The ear of spirit, from this mortal coil 

Released and disembodied), there are strains 

Forbid to all, save those whom solemn thought, 

Through the probation of revolving years, 

And mighty converse with the spirit of truth, 

Have purged and purified. To these my soul 

Aspireth ; and to this sublimer end 

I gird myself, and climb the toilsome steep 

With patient expectation. Yea, sometimes 

Foretaste of bliss rewards me ; and sometimes 

Spirits unseen upon my footsteps wait, 

And minister strange music, which doth seem 

Now near, now distant, now on high, now low, 

Then swelling from all sides, with bliss complete, 

And full fruition filling all the soul. 

Surely such ministry, though rare, may soothe 

The steep ascent, and cheat the lassitude 

Of toil ; and but that my fond heart 

Reverts to day-dreams of the summer gone, 

When by clear fountain, or embower* d brake, 

I lay a listless mnser, prizing, far 

Above all other lore, the poet's theme ; 

But for such recollections I could brace 

My stubborn spirit for the arduous path 

Of science unregretting ; eye afar 

Philosophy upon her steepest height, 

And with bold step and resolute attempt 

Pursue her to the innermost recess, 

Where throned in light she sits, the Queen of Truth 



KIRKE WHITE. 139 



THE PROSTITUTE. 
DACTYLICS. 

Woman of weeping eye, ah ! for thy wretched lot, 
Putting on smiles to lure the lewd passenger, 
Smiling w T hile anguish gnaws at thy heavy heart ; 

Sad is thy chance, thou daughter of misery, 
Vice and disease are wearing thee fast away, 
While the unfeeling ones sport with thy sufferings. 

Destined to pamper the vicious one's appetite ; 
Spurned by the beings w T ho lured thee from inno- 
cence ; 
Sinking unnoticed in sorrow and indigence ; 

Thou hast no friends, for they with thy virtue fled; 

Thou art an outcast from house and from happi- 
ness; 

Wandering alone on the wide world's unfeeling 
stage ! 

Daughter of misery, sad is thy prospect here ; 
Thou hast no friend to soothe down the bed of 

death ; 
None after thee inquires with solicitude ; 



140 THE POEMS OF 

Famine and fell disease shortly will wear thee down, 
Yet thou hast still to brave often the winter's wind, 
Loathsome to those thou wouldst court with thine 
hollow eyes. 

Soon thou wilt sink into death's silent slumbering, 
And not a tear shall fall on thy early grave, 
Nor shall a single stone tell where thy bones are 
laid. 

Once wert thou happy — thou wert once innocent; 
But the seducer beguiled thee in artlessness, 
Then he abandoned thee unto thine infamy. 

Now he perhaps is reclined on a bed of down : 
But if a wretch like him sleeps in security, 
God of the red right arm ! where is thy thunder- 
bolt? 



KIRKE WHITE. 141 



ODES. 



TO MY LYRE. 

Thou simple Lyre ! thy music wild 

Has served to charm the weary hour. 
And many a lonely night has 'guiled, 
When even pain has own'd, and smiled, 
Its fascinating power. 

Yet, oh my Lyre ! the busy crowd 

Will little heed thy simple tones ; 
Them mightier minstrels harping loud 
Engross, — and thou and I must shroud 
Where dark oblivion 'thrones. 

No hand, thy diapason o'er, 

Well skill'd I throw with sweep sublime ; 
For me, no academic lore 
Has taught the solemn strain to pour, 

Or build the polish'd rhyme. 

Yet thou to sylvan themes canst soar ; 

Thou know'st to charm the w r oodland train « 
The rustic swains believe thy power 
Can hush the wild winds when they roar, 

And still the billowy main. 



142 THE POEMS OF 

These honours, Lyre, we yet may keep, 
I, still unknown, may live with thee, 
And gentle zephyr's wing will sweep 
Thy solemn string, where low I sleep, 
Beneath the alder tree. 

This little dirge will please me more 

Than the full requiem's swelling peal ; 
I'd rather than that crowds should sigh 
For me, that from some kindred eye 
The trickling tear should steal. 

Yet dear to me the wreath of bay, 

Perhaps from me debarr'd ; 
And dear to me the classic zone, 
Which, snatch'd from learning's labour'd throne, 

Adorns the accepted bard. 

And O ! if yet 'twere mine to dwell 

Where Cam or Isis winds along, 
Perchance, inspired with ardour chaste, 
I yet might call the ear of taste 

To listen to my song. 

Oh ! then, my little friend, thy style 

I'd change to happier lays, 
Oh ! then the cloister'd glooms should smile, 
And through the long, the fretted aisle 

Should swell the note of praise. 



KIRKE WHITE. 143 



TO AN EARLY PRIMROSE. 

Mild offspring of a dark and sullen sire ! 
Whose modest form, so delicately fine, 

Was nursed in whirling storms, 

And cradled in the winds. 

Thee when young spring first question'd winter's 

sway, 
And dared the sturdy blusterer to the fight, 

Thee on this bank he threw 

To mark his victory. 

In this low vale, the promise of the year, 
Serene thou openest to the nipping gale, 

Unnoticed and alone, 

Thy tender elegance. 

So virtue blooms, brought forth amid the storms 
Of chill adversity, in some lone walk 

Of life she rears her head, 

Obscure and unobserved ; 

While every bleaching breeze that on her blows 
Chastens her spotless purity of breast, 

And hardens her to bear 

Serene the ills of life. 



144 THE POEMS OF 



ODE, ADDRESSED TO H. FUSELI, ESQ. R.A. 

ON SEEING ENGRAVINGS FROM HIS DESIGNS. 

Mighty magician ! who on Torneo's brow, 

When sullen tempests wrap the throne of night, 
Art wont to sit and catch the gleam of light 

That shoots athwart the gloom opaque below ; 

And listen to the distant death-shriek long 
From lonely mariner foundering in the deep, 
Which rises slowly up the rocky steep, 

While the weird sisters weave the horrid song : 
Or, when along the liquid sky 
Serenely chant the orbs on high, 
Dost love to sit in musing trance, 
And mark the northern meteor's dance 
(While far below the fitful oar 
Flings its faint pauses on the steepy shore), 
And list the music of the breeze, 
That sweeps by fits the bending seas ; 
And often bears with sudden swell 
The shipwreck'd sailor's funeral knell, 
By the spirits sung, who keep 
Their night-watch on the treacherous deep, 
And guide the wakeful helms-mans eve 
To Helice in northern sky ; 
And there upon the rock reclined 
With mighty visions fill'st the mind, 



KIRKE WHITE. 145 

Such as bound in magic spell 
Him * who grasp'd the gates of Hell, 
And, bursting Pluto's dark domain, 
Held to the day the terrors of his reign. 

Genius of Horror and romantic awe, 

Whose eye explores the secrets of the deep, 
Whose power can bid the rebel fluids creep, 

Can force the inmost soul to own its law ; 
Who shall now, sublime st spirit, 
WTio shall now thy wand inherit, 
From him j- thy darling child who best 
Thy shuddering images express'd ? 
Sullen of soul, and stern, and proud, 
His gloomy spirit spurn'd the crowd, 
And now he lays his aching head 

In the dark mansion of the silent dead. 

Mighty magician ! long thy wand has lain 
Buried beneath the unfathomable deep ; 
And oh ! for ever must its efforts sleep, 

May none the mystic sceptre e'er regain ? 
Oh, yes, 'tis his ! Thy other son ! 
He throws thy dark- wrought tunic on, 
Fuesslin waves thy wand, — again they rise, 
Again thy wildering forms salute our ravish'd 

Him didst thou cradle on the dizzy steep [eyes. 
Where round his head the vollied lightnings flung, 
And the loud winds that round his pillow rung 

Woo'd the stern infant to the arms of sleep. 
* Dante. f Ibid. 



146 THE POEMS OF 

Or on the highest top of Teneriffe 
Seated the fearless boy, and bade him look 

Where far below the weather-beaten skiff 
On the gulf bottom of the ocean strook. 
Thou mark'dst him drink with ruthless ear 

The death-sob, and, disdaining rest, 
Thou saw'st how danger fired his breast, 
And in his young hand couch'd the visionary spear* 

Then, Superstition, at thy call, 

She bore the boy to Odin's Hall, 

And set before his awe-struck sight 

The savage feast and spectred fight ; 

And summon'd from his mountain tomb 

The ghastly warrior son of gloom, 

His fabled runic rhymes to sing, 

While fierce Hresvelger flapp'd his wing ; 

Thou show'dst the trains the shepherd sees, 

Laid on the stormy Hebrides, 

Which on the mists of evening gleam, 

Or crowd the foaming desert stream ; 

Lastly her storied hand she waves, 

And lays him in Florentian caves ; 

There milder fables, lovelier themes, 

Enwrap his soul in heavenly dreams, 

There pity's lute arrests his ear, 

And draws the half reluctant tear ; 

And now at noon of night he roves 

Along the embowering moonlight groves, 

And as from many a cavern'd dell 

The hollow wind is heard to swell, 



KIRKE WHITE. 147 

He thinks some troubled spirit sighs, 
And as upon the turf he lies, 
Where sleeps the silent beam of night, 
He sees below the gliding sprite, 
And hears in Fancy's organs sound 
Aerial music warbling round. 

Taste lastly comes and smoothes the whole, 
And breathes her polish o'er his soul ; 
Glowing with wild, yet chasten'd heat, 
The wondrous work is now complete. 

The Poet dreams : — The shadow flies, 

And fainting fast its image dies. 

But lo ! the Painter's magic force 

Arrests the phantom's fleeting course ; 

It lives — it lives — the canvass glows, 

And tenfold vigour o'er it flows. 
The Bard beholds the work achieved, 

And as he sees the shadow rise 

Sublime before his wondering eyes, 
Starts at the image his own mind conceived.. 



TO THE EARL OF CARLISLE, K.G. 

I. 1. 
Retired, remote from human noise, 

An humble Poet dwelt serene ; 
His lot was lowly, yet his joys 

Were manifold, I ween. 



148 THE POEMS OF 

He laid him by the brawling brook 
At eventide to ruminate, 

He watch'd the swallow skimming round, 
And mused, in reverie profound, 
On wayward man's unhappy state, 
And ponder'd much, and paused on deeds of an- 
cient date. 

II. l. 

" Oh, 'twas not always thus," he cried, 
" There was a time, when genius claim'd 

Respect from even towering pride, 
Nor hung her head ashamed : 

But now to wealth alone we bow, 
The titled and the rich alone 

Are honour' d, while meek merit pines, 

On penury's wretched couch reclines, 
Unheeded in his dying moan, [known. 

As, overwhelm'd with want and woe, he sinks un- 

III. 1. 

" Yet was the muse not always seen 
In poverty's dejected mien, 

Not always did repining rue, 

And misery her steps pursue. 
Time was, when nobles thought their titles graced 
By the sweet honours of poetic bays, 

When Sidney sung his melting song, 

When Sheffield join'd the harmonious throng. 
And Lyttelton attuned to love his lays. 



KIRKE WHITE. 149 

Those days are gone — alas, for ever gone ! 

No more our nobles love to grace 
Their brows with anadems, by genius won, 
But arrogantly deem the muse as base ; 
How differently thought the sires of this degenerate 
race ! " 

I. 2. 

Thus sang the minstrel : — still at eve 
The upland's woody shades among 
In broken measures did he grieve, 
With solitary song. 
And still his shame was aye the same, 
Neglect had stung him to the core ; 
And he with pensive joy did love 
To seek the still congenial grove, 
And muse on all his sorrows o'er, 
And vow that he would join the abjured world no 
more. 

II. 2. 

But human vows, how frail they be ! 

Fame brought Carlisle unto his view, 
And all amazed, he thought to see 

The Augustan age anew. 
Fill'd with wild rapture, up he rose, 
No more he ponders on the woes 
Which erst he felt that forward goes, 

Regrets he'd sunk in impotence, 
And hails the ideal day of virtuous eminence. 



150 THE POEMS OF 



III. 2. 



Ah ! silly man, yet smarting sore 
With ills which in the world he bore, 
Again on futile hope to rest, 
An unsubstantial prop at best, 
And not to know one swallow makes no summer ! 

Ah ! soon he'll find the brilliant gleam, 
Which flash'd across the hemisphere, 
Illumining the darkness there, 

Was but a single solitary beam, 
While all around remained in custom'd night. 

Still leaden ignorance reigns serene, 
In the false court's delusive height, 

And only one Carlisle is seen 
To illume the heavy gloom with pure and steady 
light. 



TO CONTEMPLATION. 

Come, pensive sage, who lovest to dwell 
In some retired Lapponian cell, 
Where, far from noise and riot rude, 
Resides sequester'd solitude. 
Come, and o'er my longing soul 
Throw thy dark and russet stole, 
And open to my duteous eyes 
The volume of thy mysteries. 



KIRKE WHITE. 151 

I will meet thee on the hill, 
Where, with printless footsteps still, 
The morning in her buskin gray 
Springs upon her eastern way ; 
While the frolic zephyrs stir, 
Playing with the gossamer, 
And, on ruder pinions borne, 
Shake the dewdrops from the thorn. 
There, as o'er the fields we pass, 
Brushing with hasty feet the grass, 
We will startle from her nest 
The lively lark with speckled breast, 
And hear the floating clouds among 
Her gale-transported matin song, 
Or on the upland stile, embower'd 
With fragrant hawthorn snowy flower'd, 
Will sauntering sit, and listen still 
To the herdsman's oaten quill, 
Wafted from the plain below ; 
Or the heifer's frequent low ; 
Or the milkmaid in the grove, 
Singing of one that died for love. 
Or when the noontide heats oppress, 
We will seek the dark recess, 
Where, in the embower'd translucent stream, 
The cattle shun the sultry beam, 
And o'er us on the marge reclined, 
The drowsy fly her horn shall wind, 
While echo, from her ancient oak, 
Shall answer to the woodman's stroke ; 



152 THE POEMS OF 

Or the little peasant's song, 
Wandering lone the glens among. 
His artless lip with berries dyed, 
And feet through ragged shoes descried. 
But oh ! when evening's virgin queen 
Sits on her fringed throne serene, 
And mingling whispers rising near 
Steal on the still reposing ear ; 
While distant brooks decaying round, 
Augment the mix'd dissolving sound, 
And the zephyr flitting by 
Whispers mystic harmony, 
We will seek the woody lane, 
By the hamlet, on the plain, 
Where the weary rustic nigh 
Shall whistle his wild melody, 
And the croaking wicket oft 
Shall echo from the neighbouring croft ; 
And as we trace the green path lone, 
W T ith moss and rank weeds overgrown, 
We will muse on pensive lore, 
Till the full soul, brimming o'er, 
Shall in our upturn'd eyes appear, 
Embodied in a quivering tear. 
Or else, serenely silent, sit 
By the brawling rivulet, 
Which on its calm unruffled breast 
Rears the old mossy arch impress'd, 
That clasps its secret stream of glass, 
Half hid in shrubs and waving grass, 



KIRKE WHITE. 153 

The woodnymph's lone secure retreat, 
Unpress'd by fawn or sylvan's feet, 
We'll watch in eve's ethereal braid 
The rich vermilion slowly fade ; f 

Or catch, faint twinkling from afar. 
The first glimpse of the eastern star. 
Fair vesper, mildest lamp of light, 
That heralds in imperial night : 
Meanwhile, upon our wondering ear, 
Shall rise, though low, yet sweetly clear, 
The distant sounds of pastoral lute, 
Invoking soft the sober suit 
Of dimmest darkness — fitting well 
With love, or sorrow's pensive spell, 
(So erst did music's silver tone 
Wake slumbering chaos on his throne). 
And haply then, with sudden swell, 
Shall roar the distant curfew bell, 
While in the castle's mouldering tower 
The hooting howl is heard to pour 
Her melancholy song, and scare 
Dull silence brooding in the air. 
Meanwhile her dusk and slumbering car 
Black-suited night drives on from far, 
And Cynthia, 'merging from her rear, 
Arrests the waxing darkness drear, 
And summons to her silent call, 
Sweeping, in their airy pall, 
The unshrived ghosts, in fairy trance, 
To join her moonshine morris-dance ; 



154 THE POEMS OF 

While around the mystic ring 
The shadowy shapes elastic spring-, 
Then with a passing- shriek they fly, 
Wrapt in mists, along the sky, 
And oft are by the shepherd seen 
In his lone night-watch on the green. 

Then, hermit, let us turn our feet 
To the low abbey's still retreat, 
Embower'd in the distant glen, 
Far from the haunts of busy men, 
Where, as we sit upon the tomb, 
The glowworm's light may gild the gloom, 
And show to fancy's saddest eye 
W T here some lost hero's ashes lie. 
And oh, as through the mouldering arch, 
With ivy fill'd and weeping larch, 
The night gale whispers sadly clear, 
Speaking dear things to fancy's ear, 
We'll hold communion with the shade 
Of some deep wailing, ruin'd maid — 
Or call the ghost of Spenser down, 
To tell of woe and fortune's frown ; 
And bid us cast the eye of hope 
Beyond this bad world's narrow scope. 
Or if these joys, to us denied, 
To linger by the forest's side ; 
Or in the meadow, or the wood, 
Or by the lone, romantic flood ; 
Let us in the busy town, 
When sleep's dull streams the people drown, 



KIRKE WHITE. 155 

Far from drowsy pillows flee, 

And turn the church's massy key; 

Then, as through the painted glass 

The moon's faint beams obscurely pass, 

And darkly on the trophied wall 

Her faint, ambiguous shadows fall, 

Let us, while the faint winds wail 

Through the long reluctant aisle, 

As we pace with reverence meet, 

Count the echoings of our feet, 

While from the tombs, with confess'd breath, 

Distinct responds the voice of death. 

If thou, mild sage, wilt condescend 

Thus on my footsteps to attend, 

To thee my lonely lamp shall burn 

By fallen Genius' sainted urn, 

As o'er the scroll of Time I pore, 

And sagely spell of ancient lore, 

Till I can rightly guess of all 

That Plato could to memory call, 

And scan the formless views of things ; 

Or, with old Egypt's fetter'd kings, 

Arrange the mystic trains that shine 

In night's high philosophic mine ; 

And to thy name shall e'er belong 

The honours of undying song. 



156 THE POEMS OF 



TO THE GENIUS OF ROMANCE. 

Oh ! thou who, in my early youth, 
When fancy wore the garb of truth, 
Wert wont to win my infant feet 
To some retired, deep fabled seat, 
Where, by the brooklet's secret tide, 
The midnight ghost was known to glide ; 
Or lay me in some lonely glade, 
In native Sherwood's forest shade, 
Where Robin Hood, the outlaw bold, 
Was wont his sylvan courts to hold ; 
And there, as musing deep I lay, 
Would steal my little soul away, 
And all my pictures represent, 
Of siege and solemn tournament ; 
Or bear me to the magic scene, 
Where, clad in greaves and gabardine, 
The warrior knight of chivalry 
Made many a fierce enchanter flee ; 
And bore the high-born dame away, 
Long held the fell magician's prey. 
Or oft would tell the shuddering tale 
Of murders, and of goblins pale, 
Haunting the guilty baron's side 
(Whose floors with secret blood were dyed), 
Which o'er the vaulted corridor 
On stormy nights was heard to roar, 



KIRKE WHITE. 157 

By old domestic, waken'd wide 
By the angry winds that chide : 
Or else the mystic tale would tell 
Of Greensleeve, or of Blue-Beard fell. 



TO MIDNIGHT. 



Season of general rest, whose solemn still 
Strikes to the trembling heart a fearful chill, 

But speaks to philosophic souls delight ; 
Thee do I hail, as at my casement high, 
My candle waning melancholy by, 

I sit and taste the holy calm of night. 

Yon pensive orb, that through the ether sails, 
And gilds the misty shadows of the vales, 

Hanging in thy dull rear her vestal flame ; 
To her, while all around in sleep recline, 
Wakeful I raise my orisons divine, 

And sing the gentle honours of her name ; 

While Fancy lone o'er me, her votary, bends, 
To lift my soul her fairy visions sends, 

And pours upon my ear her thrilling song, 
And Superstition's gentle terrors come, — 
See, see yon dim ghost gliding through the gloom ! 

See round yon churchyard elm what spectres 
throng ! 



158 THE POEMS OF 

Meanwhile I tune, to some romantic lay, 
My flageolet — and as I pensive play, 

The sweet notes echo o'er the mountain scene : 
The traveller late journeying o'er the moors, 
Hears them aghast, — (while still the dull owl pours 

Her hollow screams each dreary pause between). 

Till in the lonely tower he spies the light, 
Now faintly flashing on the glooms of night, 

Where I, poor muser, my lone vigils keep, 
And, 'mid the dreary solitude serene, 
Cast a much -meaning glance upon the scene, 

And raise my mournful eye to Heaven, and weep. 



TO THOUGHT. 

WRITTEN AT MIDNIGHT. 

Hence, away, vindictive thought ; 

Thy pictures are of pain ; 
The visions through thy dark eye caught, 
They with no gentle charms are fraught, 
So pr'ythee back again. 
I would not weep, 
I wish to sleep, 
Then why, thou busy foe, with me thy vigils keep ? 

Why dost o'er bed and couch recline ? 

Is this thy new delight ? 
Pale visitant, it is not thine 
To keep thy sentry through the mine, 



KIRKE WHITE. 159 

The dark vault of the night : 
'Tis thine to die, 
While o'er the eye 
The dews of slumber press, and waking sorrows fly- 
Go thou, and bide with him who guides 

His bark through lonely seas ; 
And as reclining on his helm, 
Sadly he marks the starry realm, 
To him thou mayst bring ease : 
But thou to me 

Art misery, [pillow flee. 

So pr'ythee, pr'ythee, plume thy wings, and from mv 

And, memory, pray what art thou ? 

Art thou of pleasure born ? 
Does bliss untainted from thee flow ? 
The rose that gems thy pensive brow, 
Is it without a thorn ? 
With all thy smiles, 
And witching wiles, [defiles. 

Yet not unfrequent bitterness thy mournful sway 

The drowsy night-watch has forgot 

To call the solemn hour ; 
Lull'd by the winds, he slumbers deep, 
While I in vain, capricious sleep, 
Invoke thy tardy power ; 
And restless lie, 
With unclosed eye, 
And count the tedious hours as slow thev minute by. 



160 THE POEMS OF 



GENIUS. 

AN ODE. 
I. 1. 

Many there be, who, through the vale of life, 

With velvet pace, unnoticed, softly go, 
While jarring discord's inharmonious strife 

Awakes them not to woe. 
By them unheeded, carking care, 
Green-eyed grief and dull despair ; 
Smoothly they pursue their way, 

With even tenor and with equal breath, 
Alike through cloudy and through sunny day, 

Then sink in peace to death. 

II. 1. 

But, ah ! a few there be whom griefs devour, 

And weeping woe, and disappointment keen, 
Repining penury, and sorrow sour, 

And self-consuming spleen. 
And these are Genius' favourites : these 
Know the thought-throned mind to please, 
And from her fleshy seat to draw 

To realms where Fancy's golden orbits roll. 
Disdaining all but 'wildering rapture's law. 

The captivated soul. 



KIRKE WHITE. 161 



III. 1. 

Genius, from thy starry throne, 

High above the burning zone, 

In radiant robe of light array' d, 

Oh ! hear the plaint by thy sad favourite made, 

His melancholy moan. 
He tells of scorn, he tells of broken vows, 

Of sleepless nights, of anguish-ridden days, 
Pangs that his sensibility uprouse 

To curse his being and his thirst for praise. 
Thou gavest to him with treble force to feel 

The sting of keen neglect, the rich man's scorn, 
And what o'er all does in his soul preside 

Predominant, and tempers him to steel, 
His high indignant pride. 

I. 2. 

Lament not ye, who humbly steal through life, 

That Genius visits not your lowly shed ; 
For, ah, what woes and sorrows ever rife 

Distract his hapless head ! 
For him awaits no balmy sleep, 
He wakes all night, and wakes to weep ; 
Or by his lonely lamp he sits 

At solemn midnight, when the peasant sleep s, 
In feverish study, and in moody fits 

His mournful vigils keeps. 

M 



162 THE POEMS OF 

II. 2. 

And, oh ! for what consumes his watchful oil ? 

For what does thus he waste life's fleeting 
'Tis for neglect and penury he doth toil, [breath? 

'Tis for untimely death. 
Lo ! where dejected pale he lies, 
Despair depicted in his eyes, 
He feels the vital flame decrease, 

He sees the grave wide yawning for its prey, 
Without a friend to soothe his soul to peace, 

And cheer the expiring ray. 

III. 2. 

By Sulmo's bard of mournful fame, 
By gentle Otway's magic name, 
By him, the youth, who smiled at death, 
And rashly dared to stop his vital breath, 

Will I thy pangs proclaim ; 
For still to misery closely thou'rt allied, 
Though gaudy pageants glitter by thy side, 

And far resounding Fame. 
What though to thee the dazzled millions bow, 
And to thy posthumous merit bend them low ; 
Though unto thee the monarch looks with awe, 
And thou at thy flash' d car dost nations draw, 
Yet, ah ! unseen behind thee fly 

Corroding Anguish, soul-subduing Pain, 
And Discontent that clouds the fairest sky, 
A melancholv train. 



• 



KIRKE WHITE. 163 

Yes, Genius, thee a thousand cares await, 

Mocking thy derided state ; 

Thee chill Adversity will still attend, 

Before whose face flies fast the summer's friend 

And leaves thee all forlorn ; 
While leaden Ignorance rears her head and 
laughs, 
And fat Stupidity shakes his jolly sides, 
And while the cup of affluence he quaffs 

With bee-eyed Wisdom, Genius derides, 
Who toils, and every hardship doth outbrave. 
To gain the meed of praise when he is mouldering 
in his grave. 



FRAGMENT OF AN ODE TO THE MOON. 

Mild orb, who floatest through the realm of night, 

A pathless wanderer o'er a lonely wild, 
Welcome to me thy soft and pensive light, 

Which oft in childhood my lone thoughts beguiled, 
Now doubly dear as o'er my silent seat, 
Nocturnal study's still retreat, 
It casts a mournful melancholy gleam, 
And through my lofty casement weaves, 
Dim through the vine's encircling leaves, 
An intermingled beam. 

These feverish dews that on my temples hang, 
This quivering lip, these eyes of dying flame ; 



164 THE POEMS OF 

These the dread signs of many a secret pang, 
These are the meed of him who pants for fame ! 

Pale Moon, from thoughts like these divert my soul ; 
Lowly I kneel before thy shrine on high ; 

My lamp expires ; — beneath thy mild control 

These restless dreams are ever wont to fly. 

Come, kindred mourner, in my breast 
Soothe these discordant tones to rest, 

And breathe the soul of peace ; 
Mild visitor, I feel thee here, 
It is not pain that brings this tear, 

For thou hast bid it cease. 
Oh ! many a year has pass'd away 
Since I, beneath thy fairy ray, 

Attuned my infant reed ; 
When wilt thou, Time, those days restore, 
Those happy moments now no more — 



When on the lake's damp marge I lay, 

And markM the northern meteor's dance, 
Bland Hope and Fancy, ye were there 
To inspirate my trance. 

Twin sisters, faintly now ye deign 
Your magic sweets on me to shed, 
In vain your powers are now essayed 
To chase superior pain. 

And art thou fled, thou welcome orb ! 
So swiftly pleasure flics, 



K1RKE WHITE, 165 



So to mankind, in darkness lost, 

The beam of ardour dies. 
Wan Moon, thy nightly task is done, 
And now, encurtain'd in the main, 

Thou sinkest into rest ; 
But I, in vain, on thorny bed 
Shall woo the god of soft repose — 



TO THE MUSE. 

WRITTEN AT THE AGE OF FOURTEEN, 

Ill-fated maid, in whose unhappy train 
Chill poverty and misery are seen, 

Anguish and discontent, the unhappy bane 
Of life, and blackener of each brighter scene. 

Why to thy votaries dost thou give to feel 
So keenly all the scorns — the jeers of life ? 
Why not endow them to endure the strife 

With apathy's invulnerable steel, 

Of self-content and ease, each torturing wound 
to heal ? 

Ah ! who would taste your self-deluding joys, 
That lure the unwary to a wretched doom, 

That bid fair views and flattering hopes arise, 
Then hurl them headlong to a lasting tomb ? 

What is the charm which leads thy victims on 



166 THE POEMS OE 

To persevere in paths that lead to woe ? 

What can induce them in that route to go, 
In which innumerous before have gone, 
And died in misery poor and woe-begone. 

Yet can I ask what charms in thee are found ; 
I, who have drunk from thine ethereal rill, 

And tasted all the pleasures that abound 
Upon Parnassus' loved Aonian hill? 

I, through whose soul the Muses' strains aye thrill ! 
Oh 1 I do feel the spell with which Pm tied ; 

And though our annals fearful stories tell, 
How Savage languish' d, and how Otway died, 
Yet must I persevere, let whate'er will betide. 



TO LOVE. 

Why should I blush to own I love ? 
'Tis Love that rules the realms above. 
Why should I blush to say to all, 
That Virtue holds my heart in thrall ? 

Why should I seek the thickest shade, 
Lest Love's dear secret be betrayed ? 
Why the stern brow deceitful move, 
When I am languishing with love ? 

Is it weakness thus to dwell 
On passion that I dare not tell ? 
Such weakness I would ever prove ; 
'Tis painful, though His sweet to love. 



KIRKE WHITE. 167 



ON WHIT-MONDAY. 



Hark ! how the merry bells ring jocund round, 
And now they die upon the veering breeze ; 

Anon they thunder loud 

Full on the musing ear. 

Wafted in varying cadence, by the shore 
Of the still twinkling river, they bespeak 

A day of jubilee, 

An ancient holiday. 

And lo ! the rural revels are begun, 
And gaily echoing to the laughing sky, 

On the smooth shaven green 

Resounds the voice of Mirth. 

Alas ! regardless of the tongue of Fate, 
That tells them 'tis but as an hour since they 

Who now are in their graves 

Kept up the Whitsun dance. 

And that another hour, and they must fall 
Like those who went before, and sleep as still 

Beneath the silent sod, 

A cold and cheerless sleep. 



168 THE POEMS OF 

Yet why should thoughts like these intrude to scare 
The vagrant Happiness, when she will deign 

To smile upon us here, 

A transient visitor ? 

Mortals ! be gladsome while ye have the power. 
And laugh and seize the glittering lapse of joy ; 

In time the bell will toll 

That warns ye to your graves. 

I to the woodland solitude will bend 
My lonesome way — where Mirth's obstreperous 
shout 

Shall not intrude to break 

The meditative hour. 

There will I ponder on the state of man, 
Joyless and sad of heart, and consecrate 

This day of jubilee 

To sad reflection's shrine ; 

And I will cast my fond eye far beyond 
This world of care, to where the steeple loud 

Shall rock above the sod, 

Where I shall sleep in peace. 



KIRKE WHITE. 169 



TO THE WIND, AT MIDNIGHT. 

Not unfamiliar to mine ear, 
Blasts of the night ! ye howl as now 
My shuddering casement loud 
With fitful force ye beat. 

Mine ear has dwelt in silent awe, 
The howling sweep, the sudden rush ; 
And when the passing gale 
Pour'd deep the hollow dirge. 



TO THE HARVEST MOON. 

Cum ruit imbriferum ver : 
Spicea jam campis cum messis inhorruit, et cum 
Frumenta in viridi stipula lactentia turgent. 
Cuncta tibi Cererem pubes agrestis adoret. 

VIRGIL. 

Moon of Harvest, herald mild 
Of plenty rustic labour's child, 
Hail ! oh hail ! I greet thy beam, 
As soft it trembles o'er the stream, 
And gilds the straw-thatch' d hamlet wide, 
Where Innocence and Peace reside ! 
'Tis thou that gladd'st with joy the rustic throng, 
Promptest the tripping dance, the exhilarating 
song. 



170 THE POEMS OF 

Moon of Harvest, I do love 

O'er the uplands now to rove, 

While thy modest ray serene 

Gilds the wide surrounding scene ; 

And to watch thee riding high 

In the blue vault of the sky, 
Where no thin vapour intercepts thy ray, 
But in unclouded majesty thou w T alkest on thy way 

Pleasing 'tis, oh ! modest Moon ! 
Now the night is at her noon, 
'Neath thy sway to musing lie, 
While around the zephyrs sigh, 
Fanning soft the sun-tann'd wheat, 
Ripen'd by the summer's heat ; 
Picturing all the rustic's joy 
When boundless plenty greets his eye, 

And thinking soon, 

Oh, modest Moon ! 
How many a female eye will roam 

Along the road, 

To see the load, 
The last dear load of harvest home. 

Storms and tempests, floods and rains, 
Stern despoilers of the plains, 
Hence, away, the season flee, 
Foes to light-heart jollity : 
May no winds careering high 
Drive the clouds along the sky, 



KIRKE WHITE. 171 

But may all nature smile with aspect boon, 
When in the heavens thou show'st thy face, oh 
Harvest Moon I 

'Neath yon lowly roof he lies, 
The husbandman, with sleep-seard eyes ; 
He dreams of crowded barns, and round 
The yard he hears the flail resound ; 
Oh ! may no hurricane destroy 
His visionary views of joy ! 
God of the winds ! oh, hear his humble prayer, 
And while the Moon of Harvest shines, thy bluster- 
ing whirlwind spare. 

Sons of luxury, to you 

Leave I sleep's dull power to woo ; 

Press ye still the downy bed, 

While feverish dreams surround your head ; 

I will seek the woodland glade, 

Penetrate the thickest shade, 

Wrapp'd in contemplation's dreams, 

Musing high on holy themes, 

While on the gale 

Shall softly sail 
The nightingale's enchanting tune, 

And oft my eyes 

Shall grateful rise 
To thee, the modest Harvest Moon ! 



172 THE POEMS OF 



TO THE HERB ROSEMARY.* 

Sweet scented flower ! who art wont to bloom 

On January's front severe, 

And o'er the wintry desert drear 
To waft thy waste perfume ! 
Come, thou shalt form my nosegay now, 
And I will bind thee round my brow ; 

And as I twine the mournful wreath, 
I'll weave a melancholy song ; 
And sweet the strain shall be, and long, 

The melody of death. 

Come, funeral flower ! who lovest to dwell 

With the pale corse in lonely tomb, 

And throw across the desert gloom 
A sweet decaying smell. 
Come, press my lips, and lie with me 
Beneath the lowly alder tree, 

And we will sleep a pleasant sleep, 
And not a care shall dare intrude 
To break the marble solitude, 

So peaceful and so deep. 

And hark ! the wind god, as he flies, 
Moans hollow in the forest trees, 
And sailing on the gusty breeze, 

* The Rosemary buds in January. It is the flower com- 
monly put in the coffins of the dead. 



KIRKE WHITE. 173 

Mysterious music dies. 

Sweet flower ! that requiem wild is mine, 

It warns me to the lonely shrine, 

The cold turf altar of the dead : 

My grave shall be in yon lone spot, 

Where as I lie, by all forgot, 
A dying fragrance thou wilt o'er my ashes shed. 



TO THE MORNING, 

WRITTEN DURING ILLNESS. 

Beams of the daybreak faint ! I hail 
Your dubious hues, as on the robe 
Of night, which wraps the slumbering globe, 
I mark your traces pale. 

Tired with the taper's sickly light, 
And with the wearying, number'd night, 
I hail the streaks of morn divine : 
And lo ! they break between the dewy wreaths 
That round my rural casement twine ; 
The fresh gale o'er the green lawn breathes, 
It fans my feverish brow, — it calms the mental 

strife, 
And cheerily reillumes the lambent flame of life. 

The lark has her gay song begun, 

She leaves her grassy nest, 
And soars till the unrisen sun 

Gleams on her speckled breast. 



174 THE POEMS OF 

Now let me leave my restless bed, 
And o'er the spangled uplands tread ; 

Now through the customed wood walk wend ; 
By many a green lane lies my way, 

Where high o'er head the wild briers bend, 
Till on the mountain's summit gray, 
I sit me down, and mark the glorious dawn of day. 

Oh Heaven ! the soft refreshing gale 

It breathes into my breast ! 
My sunk eye gleams ; my cheek, so pale, 

Is with new colours dress'd. 

Blithe Health ! thou soul of life and ease ! 
Come thou, too, on the balmy breeze, 

Invigorate my frame : 
I'll join with thee the buskin'd chase, 
With thee the distant clime will trace 

Beyond those clouds of flame. 

Above, below, what charms unfold 

In all the varied view ! 
Before me all is burnish'd gold, 

Behind the twilight's hue. 
The mists which on old Night await, 
Far to the west they hold their state, 

They shun the clear blue face of Morn ; 

Along the fine cerulean sky 

The fleecy clouds successive fly, [adorn. 
While bright prismatic beams their shadowy folds 



KIRKE WHITE. 175 

And hark ! the thatcher has begun 

His whistle on the eaves, 
And oft the hedger's bill is heard 

Among the rustling leaves. 
The slow team creeks upon the road, 

The noisy whip resounds, 
The driver's voice, his carol blithe, 
The mower's stroke, his whetting scythe 

Mix with the morning's sounds. 

Who would not rather take his seat 

Beneath these clumps of trees, 
The early dawn of day to greet, 

And catch the healthy breeze, 
Than on the silken couch of Sloth 

Luxurious to lie ; 
Who would not from life's dreary waste 
Snatch, when he could, with eager haste, 

An interval of joy ! 

To him who simply thus recounts 

The morning's pleasures o'er, 
Fate dooms, ere long, the scene must close 

To ope on him no more. 
Yet Morning ! unrepining still, 

He'll greet thy beams awhile ; 
And surely thou, when o'er his grave 
Solemn the whispering willows wave, 

Wilt sweetly on him smile : 
And the pale glowworm's pensive light 
Will guide his ghostly walks in the drear moonless 

night. 



176 THE POEMS OF 



ON DISAPPOINTMENT. 

Come, Disappointment, come ! 

Not in thy terrors clad : 
Come, in thy meekest, saddest guise ; 
Thy chastening rod but terrifies 
The restless and the bad. 
But I recline 

Beneath thy shrine, [twine. 

And round my brow resign'd thy peaceful cypress 

Though Fancy flies away 

Before thy hollow tread, 
Yet Meditation, in her cell, 
Hears with faint eye the lingering knell 
That tells her hopes are dead ; 
And though the tear 
By chance appear, 
Yet she can smile, and say, My all was not laid here. 

Come, Disappointment, come! 

Though from Hope's summit hurl'd, 
Still, rigid Nurse, thou art forgiven, 
For thou severe wert sent from heaven 
To wean me from the world ; 
To turn my eye 
From vanity, 
And point to scenes of bliss that never, never die. 



KIRKE WHITE. 17 7 

What is this passing scene ? 

A peevish April day ! 
A little sun — a little rain, 
And then night sweeps along the plain. 
And all things fade away. 
Man (soon discussed) 
Yields up his trust, 
And all his hopes and fears lie with him in the dust. 

Oh, what is Beauty's power ? 

It flourishes and dies ; 
Will the cold earth its silence break, 
To tell how soft, how smooth a cheek 
Beneath its surface lies ? 
Mute, mute is all 

O'er Beauty's fall ; [pall. 

Her praise resounds no more when mantled in her 

The most beloved on earth 

Not long survives to-day ; 
So music past is obsolete, 
And yet 'twas sweet, 'twas passing sweet, 
But now 'tis gone away. 
Thus does the shade 
In memory fade, 
When in forsaken tomb the form beloved is laid. 

Then since this world is vain, 

And volatile, and fleet, 
Why should I lay up earthly joys, 
Where rust corrupts, and moth destroys. 

N 



178 THE POEMS OF 

And cares and sorrows eat ? 
Why fly from ill 
With anxious skill, 
When soon this hand will freeze, this throbbing 
heart be still. 

Come, Disappointment, come ! 

Thou art not stern to me ; 
Sad Monitress ! I own thy sway, 
A votary sad in early day, 
I bend my knee to thee. 
From sun to sun 
My race will run, 
I only bow, and say, My God, thy will be done ! 

On another paper are a few lines, written probably in the 
freshness of his disappointment. 

I dream no more — the vision flies away, 

And Disappointment .... 

There fell my hopes — I lost my all in this, 

My cherish* d all of visionary bliss. 

Now hope farewell, farewell all joys below ; 

Now welcome sorrow, and now welcome woe. 

Plunge me in glooms .... 



KIRKE WHITE. 



179 



ON THE DEATH OF DERMODY THE POET. 

Child of Misfortune ! Offspring of the Muse ! 
Mark like the meteor's gleam his mad career ; 
With hollow cheeks and haggard eye, 
Behold he shrieking passes by : 

I see, I see him near : 
That hollow scream, that deepening groan ; 
It rings upon mine ear. 

Oh come, ye thoughtless, ye deluded youth, 
Who clasp the syren pleasure to your breast, 
Behold the wreck of genius here, 
And drop, oh drop the silent tear 

For Dermody at rest : 
His fate is yours, then from your loins 
Tear quick the silken vest. 

Saw'st thou his dying bed ! Saw'st thou his eye, 
Once flashing fire, despair's dim tear distil ; ' 
How ghastly did it seem ; 
And then his dying scream : 
Oh God ! I hear it still : 
It sounds upon my fainting sense, 
It strikes with deathly chill. 



180 THE POEMS OF 

Say, didst thou mark the brilliant poet's death ; 
Saw'st thou an anxious father by his bed, 
Or pitying friends around him stand : 
Or didst thou see a mother's hand 

Support his languid head : 
Oh none of these — no friend o'er him 
The balm of pity shed. 

Now come around, ye flippant sons of wealth, 
Sarcastic smile on genius fallen low ; 
Now come around who pant for fame, 
And learn from hence, a poet's name 

Is purchased but by woe : 
And when ambition prompts to rise, 
Oh think of him below. 

For me, poor moralizer, I will run, 
Dejected, to some solitary state : 
The muse has set her seal on me, 
She set her seal on Dermody, 

It is the seal of fate : 
In some lone spot my bones may lie, 
Secure from human hate. 

Yet ere I go I'll drop one silent tear, 

Where lies unwept the poet's fallen head : 
May peace her banners o'er him wave ; 
For me in my deserted grave 

No friend a tear shall shed : 
Yet may the lily and the rose 
Bloom on my grassy bed. 



KIRKE WHITE. 181 



SONNETS. 
SONNET TO THE RIVER TRENT. 

WRITTEN ON RECOVERY FROM SICKNESS. 

Once more, O Trent ! along thy pebbly marge 

A pensive invalid, reduced and pale, 
From the close sick-room newly set at large, 

Wooes to his wan worn cheek the pleasant gale . 
O I to his ear how musical the tale 

Which fills with joy the throstle's little throat ! 
And all the sounds which on the fresh breeze sail, 

How wildly novel on his senses float ! 
It was on this that many a sleepless night, 

As lone he watch'd the taper's sickly gleam, 
And at his casement heard, with wild affright, 

The owl's dull wing, and melancholy scream, 
On this he thought, this, this, his sole desire, 
Thus once again to hear the warbling woodland 
choir. 

SONNET. 

Give me a cottage on some Cambrian wild, 
Where far from cities I may spend my days ; 

And, by the beauties of the scene beguiled, 
May pity man's pursuits, and shun his ways. 

While on the rock I mark the browsing goat, 
List to the mountain-torrent's distant noise, 



182 THE POEMS OF 

Or the hoarse bittern's solitary note, 

I shall not want the world's delusive joys : 

But with my little scrip, my book, my lyre, 
Shall think my lot complete, nor covet more ; 

And when, with time, shall wane the vital fire, 
I'll raise my pillow on the desert shore, 

And lay me down to rest where the wild wave 

Shall make sweet music o'er my lonely grave. 



SONNET.* 

SUPPOSED TO HAVE BEEN ADDRESSED BY A FEMALE 
LUNATIC TO A LADY. 

Lady, thou weepest for the Maniac's woe, 

And thou art fair, and thou, like me, art young; 
Oh ! may thy bosom never, never know 

The pangs with which my wretched heart is wrung. 
I had a mother once — a brother too — 

(Beneath yon yew my father rests his head :) 
I had a lover once, — and kind and true, 

But mother, brother, lover, all are fled! 
Yet, whence the tear which dims thy lovely eye ? 

Oh ! gentle lady — not for me thus weep, 
The green sod soon upon my breast will lie, 

And soft and sound will be my peaceful sleep. 
Go thou, and pluck the roses while they bloom — 

My hopes lie buried in the silent tomb. 

* This Quatorzain had its rise from an elegant Sonnet, 
* occasioned by seeing a young Female Lunatic," written 
by Mrs. Lofft, and published in the Monthly Mirror. 



KIRKE WHITE. 183 



SONNET. 

SUPPOSED TO BE WRITTEN BY THE UNHAPPY POET DERMODY 

IN A STORM, WHILE ON BOARD A SHIP IN 

HIS MAJESTY'S SERVICE. 

Lo ! o'er the welkin the tempestuous clouds 
Successive fly, and the loud piping wind 

Rocks the poor sea-boy on the dripping shrouds, 
While the pale pilot, o'er the helm reclined, 

Lists to the changeful storm : and as he plies 
His wakeful task, he oft bethinks him, sad, 
Of wife, and little home, and chubby lad, 

And the half strangled tear bedews his eyes ; 
I, on the deck, musing on themes forlorn, 

View the drear tempest, and the yawning deep, 

Nought dreading in the green sea's caves to sleep, 
For not for me shall wife or children mourn, 

And the w T ild winds will ring my funeral knell, 

Sweetly as solemn peal of pious passing-bell. 



SONNET. THE WINTER TRAVELLER. 

God help thee, Traveller, on thy journey far ; 
The wind is bitter keen, — the snow o'erlays 
The hidden pits, and dangerous hollow ways, 
And darkness will involve thee. No kind star 
To-night will guide thee, Traveller, — and the war 
Of winds and elements on thy head will break, 



184 THE POEMS OF 

And in thy agonizing ear the shriek 

Of spirits howling on their stormy car 

Will often ring appalling — I portend 

A dismal night — and on my wakeful bed 
Thoughts, Traveller, of thee will fill my head, 

And him who rides where wind and waves contend, 
And strives, rude cradled on the seas, to guide 
His lonely bark through the tempestuous tide. 



SONNET. 

BY CAPEL LOFFT, ESQ. 

This Sonnet was addressed to the Author of this volume, and 
was occasioned hy several little Quatorzains, misnomered 
Sonnets, which he published in the Monthly Mirror. He 
begs leave to return his thanks to the much respected 
writer, for the permission so politely granted to insert it 
here, and for the good opinion he has been pleased to 
express of his productions. 

Ye whose aspirings court the muse of lays, 
" Severest of those orders which belong, 
Distinct and separate, to Delphic song, ,, 

Why shun the sonnet's undulating maze ? 

And why its name, boast of Petrarchian days, 
Assume, its rules disown'd ? whom from the 
throng 

The muse selects, their ear the charm obeys 
Of its full harmony : — they fear to wrong 



KIRKE WHITE. 185 

The sonnet, by adorning with a name 

Of that distinguished import, lays, though sweet, 
Yet not in magic texture taught to meet 

Of that so varied and peculiar frame. 

O think ! to vindicate its genuine praise 

Those it beseems, whose lyre a favouring impulse 
sways. 



SONNET. 

RECANTATORY, IN REPLY TO THE FOREGOING ELEGANT 
ADMONITION. 

Let the sublimer muse, who, wrapp'd in night, 
Rides on the raven pennons of the storm, 
Or o'er the field, with purple havoc warm, 

Lashes her steeds, and sings along the fight ; 

Let her, whom more ferocious strains delight, 
Disdain the plaintive sonnet's little form, 
And scorn to its wild cadence to conform, 

The impetuous tenor of her hardy flight. 

But me, far lowest of the sylvan train, 

Who wake the wood-nymphs from the forest 

shade 
With wildest song; — me, much behoves thy aid 

Of mingled melody, to grace my strain, 

And give it power to please, as soft it flows 

Through the smooth murmurs of thy frequent close. 



186 THE POEMS OF 



SONNET ON HEARING THE SOUNDS OF AN 
^EOLIAN HARP. 

So ravishingly soft upon the tide 
Of the infuriate gust, it did career, 
It might have soothed its rugged charioteer, 
And sunk him to a zephyr ; then it died, 
Melting in melody ; — and I descried, 

Borne to some wizard stream, the form appear 
Of Druid sage, who on the far-off ear 
Pour'd his lone song, to which the surge replied : 
Or thought I heard the hapless pilgrim's knell, 
Lost in some wild enchanted forest's bounds, 
By unseen beings sung ; or are these sounds 
Such as, 'tis said, at night are known to swell 
By startled shepherd on the lonely heath, 
Keeping his night-watch sad, portending death ? 



SONNET. 

What art thou, Mighty One! and where thy seat? 

Thou broodest on the calm that cheers the lands. 

And thou dost bear within thine awful hands 
The rolling thunders and the lightnings fleet. 
Stern on thy dark-wrought car of cloud and wind, 

Thou guidest the northern storm at night's dead 
noon, 



KIRKE WHITE. 187 

Or, on the red wing of the fierce monsoon, 
Disturbs the sleeping giant of the Ind. 
In the drear silence of the polar span 

Dost thou repose ? or in the solitude 
Of sultry tracts, where the lone caravan 

Hears nightly howl the tiger's hungry brood ? 
Vain thought ! the confines of his throne to trace. 
Who glows through all the fields of boundless space. 



SONNET TO CAPEL LOFFT, ESQ. 

Lofft, unto thee one tributary song 

The simple Muse, admiring, fain would bring ; 

She longs to lisp thee to the listening throng, 
And with thy name to bid the woodlands ring. 

Fain would she blazon all thy virtues forth, 
Thy warm philanthropy, thy justice mild, 

Would say how thou didst foster kindred worth, 
And to thy bosom snatched Misfortune's child : 

Firm she would paint thee, with becoming zeal, 
Upright, and learned, as the Pylian sire, 
Would say how sweetly thou couldst sweep the 
lyre, 

And show thy labours for the public weal, 
Ten thousand virtues tell with joys supreme, 
But ah ! she shrinks abashed before the arduous 
theme. 



188 THE POEMS OF 



SONNET TO THE MOON. 

WRITTEN IN NOVEMBER. 

Sublime, emerging from trie misty verge 
Of the horizon dim, thee, Moon, I hail, 
As, sweeping o'er the leafless grove, the gale 

Seems to repeat the year's funereal dirge. 

Now Autumn sickens on the languid sight, 

And leaves bestrew the wanderer's lonely way, 

Now unto thee, pale arbitress of night, 
With double joy my homage do I pay. 
When clouds disguise the glories of the day, 

And stern November sheds her boisterous blight, 
How doubly sweet to mark the moony ray 

Shoot through the mist from the ethereal height, 
And, still unchanged, back to the memory bring 
The smiles Favonian of life's earliest spring. 



SONNET WRITTEN AT THE GRAVE OF A 
FRIEND. 

Fast from the West the fading day-streaks fly, 
And ebon Night assumes her solemn sway, 

Yet here alone, unheeding time, I lie, 

And o'er my friend still pour the plaintive lay. 

Oh ! 'tis not long since, George, with thee I woo'd 
The maid of musings by yon moaning wave ; 



KIRKE WHITE. 189 

And haiPd the moon's mild beam, which, now re- 
new'd, 

Seems sweetly sleeping on thy silent grave ! 
The busy world pursues its boisterous way, 

The noise of revelry still echoes round, 
Yet I am sad while all beside is gay ; 

Yet still I weep o'er thy deserted mound. 
Oh ! that, like thee, I might bid sorrow cease, 
And 'neath the greensward sleep the sleep of peace* 



SONNET TO MISFORTUNE. 

Misfortune, I am young, my chin is bare, 

And I have wonder'd much when men have told ? 
How youth was free from sorrow and from care, 

That thou shouldst dwell with me, and leave the 
old. 
Sure dost not like me !— Shrivel'd hag of hate, 

My phiz, and thanks to thee, is sadly long ; 

I am not either, beldame, over strong ; 
Nor do I wish at all to be thy mate, 
For thou, sweet Fury, art my utter hate. 
Nay, shake not thus thy miserable pate ; 
I am yet young, and do not like thy face ; 
And, lest thou shouldst resume the wild-goose chase 7 
I'll tell thee something all thy heat to assuage, 
— Thou wilt not hit my fancy in my age. 



190 THE POEMS OF 



SONNET. 



As thus oppressed with many a heavy care 
(Though young yet sorrowful), I turn my feet 
To the dark woodland, longing much to greet 
The form of Peace, if chance she sojourn there ; 
Deep thought and dismal, verging to despair, 
Fills my sad breast ; and, tired with this vain coil, 
I shrink dismay'd before life's upland toil. 
And as, amid the leaves, the evening air 
Whispers still melody, — I think ere long, 

When I no more can hear, these woods will speak ; 
And then a sad smile plays upon my cheek, 
And mournful phantasies upon me throng, 
And I do ponder, with most strange delight, 
On the calm slumbers of the dead man's night. 



SONNET TO APRIL. 

Emblem of life ! see changeful April sail 
In varying vest along the shadowy skies, 
Now bidding summer's softest zephyrs rise, 

Anon recalling winter's stormy gale, 

And pouring from the cloud her sudden hail ; 
Then, smiling through the tear that dims her eyes, 
While Iris with her braid the welkin dyes, 

Promise of sunshine, not so prone to fail. 



KIRKE WHITE. 191 

So, to us, sojourners in life's low vale, 
The smiles of fortune flatter to deceive, 
While still the fates the web of misery weave. 
So Hope exultant spreads her aery sail, 
And from the present gloom the soul conveys 
To distant summers and far happier days. 



SONNET. 

Ye unseen spirits, whose wild melodies, 
At evening rising slow, yet sweetly clear, 
Steal on the musing poet's pensive ear, 

As by the wood-spring stretch' d supine he lies ; 

When he, who now invokes you, low is laid, 

His tired frame resting on the earth's cold bed ; 

Hold ye your nightly vigils o'er his head, 
And chant a dirge to his reposing shade ! 

For he was wont to love your madrigals ; 
And often by the haunted stream, that laves 
The dark sequester' d woodland's inmost caves, 

Would sit and listen to the dying falls, 

Till the full tear would quiver in his eye, 

And his big heart would heave with mournful 
ecstasy. 



192 THE POEMS OF 



SONNET TO A TAPER. 

'Tis midnight. On the globe dead slumber sits, 

And all is silence — in the hour of sleep ; 
Save when the hollow gust, that swells by fits, 

In the dark wood roars fearfully and deep. 
I wake alone to listen and to weep, 

To watch my taper, thy pale beacon burn ; 
And, as still Memory does her vigils keep, 

To think of days that never can return. 
By thy pale ray I raise my languid head, 

My eye surveys the solitary gloom ; 
And the sad meaning tear, unmix'd with dread, 

Tells thou dost light me to the silent tomb. 
Like thee I wane ; — like thine my life's last ray 
Will fade in loneliness, unwept, away. 



SONNET TO MY MOTHER. 

And canst thou, Mother, for a moment think 
That we, thy children, when old age shall shed 
Its blanching honours on thy weary head, 

Could from our best of duties ever shrink ? 

Sooner the sun from his high sphere should sink 
Than we, ungrateful, leave thee in that day, 
To pine in solitude thy life away, 

Or shun thee, tottering on the grave's cold brink. 



KIRKE WHITE. ] 9-3 

Banish the thought ! — where'er our steps may roam, 
O'er smiling plains, or wastes without a tree, 
Still will fond memory point our hearts to thee, 

And paint the pleasures <tf thy peaceful home ; 

While duty bids us all thy griefs assuage, 

And smooth the pillow of thy sinking age. 

SONNET. 

Yes, 'twill be over soon. — This sickly dream 

Of life will vanish from my feverish brain ; 
And death my wearied spirit will redeem 

From this wild region of unvaried pain. 
Yon brook will glide as softly as before, 

Yon landscape smile, yon golden harvest grow. 
Yon sprightly lark on mountain wing will soar 

When Henry's name is heard no more below. 
I sigh wdien all my youthful friends caress, 

They laugh in health, and future evils brave: 
Them shall a wife and smiling children bless, 

While I am mouldering in the silent grave. 
God of the just, Thou gavest the bitter cup ; 
I bow to thy behest, and drink it up. 

SONNET TO CONSUMPTION. 

Gently, most gently, on thy victim's head, 
Consumption, lay thine hand ! — let me decay, 
Like the expiring lamp, unseen, away, 

And softly go to slumber with the dead. 

o 



194 THE POEMS OF 

And if 'tis true what holy men have said, 
That strains angelic oft foretell the day 
Of death to those good men who fall thy prey, 

O let the aerial music round my bed, 

Dissolving sad in dying symphony, 

Whisper the solemn warning in mine ear ; 

That I may bid my weeping friends good-by 
Ere I depart upon my journey drear : 

And, smiling faintly on the painful past, 

Compose my decent head, and breathe my last. 



SONNET. 

TRANSLATED FROM THE FRENCH OF M. DESBARREAUX. 

Thy judgments, Lord, are just; thou lovest to wear 

The face of pity and of love divine ; 
But mine is guilt — thou must not, canst not spare, 

While Heaven is true, and equity is thine. 
Yes, oh my God ! — such crimes as mine, so dread, 

Leave but the choice of punishment to thee ; 
Thy interest calls for judgment on my head, 

And even thy mercy dares not plead for me ! 
Thy will be done, since 'tis thy glory's due, 

Did from mine eyes the endless torrents flow ; 
Smite — it is time — though endless death ensue, 

I bless the avenging hand that lays me low. 
But on what spot shall fall thine anger's flood, 
That has not first been drench'd in Christ's atoning 
blood? 



KIRKE WHITE. 195 



SONNET. 

When I sit musing on the chequer'd past 
(A term much darkened with untimely woes), 
My thoughts revert to her, for whom still flows 

The tear, though half disown'd ; and binding fast 

Pride's stubborn cheat to my too yielding heart, 
I say to her she robb'd me of my rest. 
When that was all my wealth. 'Tis true my breast 

Received from her this wearying, lingering smart ; 

Yet, ah ! I cannot bid her form depart ; 

Though w T rong'd, I love her — yet in anger love. 
For she was most unworthy. — Then I prove 

Vindictive joy; and on my stern front gleams, 

Throned in dark clouds, inflexible . . . 

The native pride of my much injured heart. 



SONNET. 

Sweet to the gay of heart is Summer's smile, 

Sweet the wild music of the laughing Spring ; 
But ah ! my soul far other scenes beguile, 

Where gloomy storms their sullen shadows fling 
Is it for me to strike the Idalian string — 

Raise the soft music of the warbling wire, 
While in my ears the howls of furies ring, 

And melancholy waste the vital fire ? 



196 THE POEMS OF 

Away with thoughts like these — To some lone cave 
Where howls the shrill blast, and where sweeps 
the wave, 

Direct my steps ; there, in the lonely drear, 
I'll sit remote from worldly noise, and muse 
Till through my soul shall Peace her balm infuse, 

And whisper sounds of comfort in mine ear. 



SONNET. 

Quick o'er the wintry waste dart fiery shafts — 

Bleak blows the blast — now howls — then faintly 
dies — 
And oft upon its awful wings it wafts 

The dying wanderer's distant, feeble cries. 
Now, when athwart the gloom gaunt horror stalks, 

And midnight hags their damned vigils hold, 
The pensive poet 'mid the wild waste walks, 

And ponders on the ills life's paths unfold. 
Mindless of dangers hovering round, he goes, 

Insensible to every outward ill ; 
Yet oft his bosom heaves with rending throes, 

And oft big tears adown his worn cheeks trill. 
Ah ! 'tis the anguish of a mental sore, 
Which gnaws his heart, and bids him hope no more. 



KIRKE WHITE. 197 



BALLADS, SONGS, AND HYMNS. 



GONDOLINE. 

A BALLAD. 

The night it was still, and the moon it shone 

Serenely on the sea, 
And the waves at the foot of the rifted rock 

They murmur 'd pleasantly, 

When Gondoline roam'd along the shore, 

A maiden full fair to the sight ; 
Though love had made bleak the rose on her cheek, 

And turn'd it to deadly white. 

Her thoughts they were drear, and the silent tear 

It fill'd her faint blue eye, 
As oft she heard, in fancy's ear, 

Her Bertrand's dying sigh. 

Her Bertrand was the bravest youth 

Of all our good king's men, 
And he was gone to the Holy Land 

To fiorht the Saracen. 



198 THE POEMS OF 

And many a month had pass'd away, 

And many a rolling year, 
But nothing the maid from Palestine 

Could of her lover hear. 

Full oft she vainly tried to pierce 

The ocean's misty face ; 
Full oft she thought her lover's bark 

She on the wave could trace. 

And every night she placed a light 
In the high rock's lonely tower, 

To guide her lover to the land, 

Should the murky tempest lower. 

But now despair had seized her breast, 

And sunken in her eye ; 
" Oh tell me but if Bertrand live, 

And I in peace will die." 

She wandered o'er the lonely shore, 

The curlew scream'd above, 
She heard the scream with a sickening heart, 

Much boding of her love. 

Yet still she kept her lonely way. 

And this was all her cry, 
" Oh ! tell me but if Bertrand live, 

And I in peace shall die/* 



KIRKE WHITE. 199 

And now she came to a horrible rift 

All in the rock's hard side, 
A bleak and blasted oak o'erspread 

The cavern yawning* wide. 

And pendant from its dismal top 

The deadly nightshade hung ; 
The hemlock and the aconite 

Across the mouth were flung. 

And all within was dark and drear, 

And all without was calm ; 
Yet Gondoline enter'd, her soul upheld 

By some deep-working charm. 

And as she entered the cavern wide, 

The moonbeam gleamed pale, 
And she saw a snake on the craggy rock, 

It clung by its slimy tail. 

Her foot it slipp'd, and she stood aghast, 

She trod on a bloated toad ; 
Yet, still upheld by the secret charm, 

She kept upon her road. 

And now upon her frozen ear 

Mysterious sounds arose ; 
So, on the mountain's piny top 

The blustering north wind blows. 



200 THE POEMS OF 

Then furious peals of laughter loud 

Were heard with thundering sound, 

Till they died away in soft decay? 

Low whispering o'er the ground. 

Yet still the maiden onward went, 
The charm yet onward led, 

Though each big glaring ball of sight 
Seem'd bursting from her head. 

But now a pale blue light she saw, 

It from a distance came ; 
She follow'd, till upon her sight 

Burst full a flood of flame. 

She stood appall'd ; yet still the charm 

Upheld her sinking soul ; 
Yet each bent knee the other smote, 

And each wild eye did roll. 

And such a sight as she saw there 

No mortal saw before, 
And such a sight as she saw there 

No mortal shall see more. 

A burning cauldron stood in the midst, 
The flame was fierce and high, 

And all the cave so wide and long 
Was plainly seen thereby. 



KIRKE WHITE. 201 

And round about the cauldron stout 

Twelve wither'd witches stood ; 
Their waists were bound with living snakes, 

And their hair was stiff with blood. 

Their hands were gory too ; and red 

And fiercely flamed their eyes : 
And they were muttering indistinct 

Their hellish mysteries. 

And suddenly they join'd their hands, 

And utter'd a joyous cry, 
And round about the cauldron stout 

They danced right merrily. 

And now they stopp'd ; and each prepared 

To tell what she had done, 
Since last the lady of the night 

Her waning course had run. 

Behind a rock stood Gondoline, 

Thick weeds her face did veil, 
And she lean'd fearful forwarder, 

To hear the dreadful tale. 

The first arose : She said she'd seen 

Rare sport since the blind cat mew'd, 

She'd been to sea in a leaky sieve, 
And a jovial storm had brew'd. 



202 THE POEMS OF 

She call'd around the winged winds, 

And raised a devilish rout ; 
And she laugh'd so loud, the peals were heard 

Full fifteen leagues about. 

She said there was a little bark 

Upon the roaring wave, 
And there was a woman there who'd been 

To see her husband's grave. 

And she had got a child in her arms, 

It was her only child, 
And oft its little infant pranks 

Her heavy heart beguiled. 

And there was too in that same bark 

A father and his son : 
The lad was sickly, and the sire 

Was old and woe-begone. 

And when the tempest waxed strong, 

And the bark could no more it 'bide, 

She said it was jovial fun to hear 
How the poor devils cried. 

The mother clasp'd her orphan child 

Unto her breast and wept ; 
And sweetly folded in her arms 

The careless baby slept. 



KIRKE WHITE. 203 

And she told how, in the shape of the wind, 

As manfully it roar'd, 
She twisted her hand in the infant's hair, 

And threw it overboard. 

And to have seen the mother's pangs, 

'Twas a glorious sight to see ; 
The crew could scarcely hold her down 

From jumping in the sea. 

The hag held a lock of the hair in her hand, 

And it was soft and fair : 
It must have been a lovely child, 

To have had such lovely hair. 

And she said the father in his arms 

He held his sickly son, 
And his dying throes they fast arose, 

His pains were nearly done. 

And she throttled the youth with her sinewy hands, 

And his face grew deadly blue ; 
And the father he tore his thin gray hair, 

And kiss'd the livid hue. 

And then she told how she bored a hole 

In the bark, and it fill'd away : 
And 'twas rare to hear how some did swear, 

And some did vow and pray. 



204 THE POEMS OF 

The man and woman they soon were dead, 
The sailors their strength did urge ; 

But the billows that beat were their winding-sheet, 
And the winds sung their funeral dirge. 

She threw the infant's hair in the fire, 

The red flame flamed high, 
And round about the cauldron stout 

They danced right merrily. 

The second begun : She said she had done 
The task that Queen Hecate had set her, 

And that the devil, the father of evil, 
Had never accomplish'd a better. 

She said, there was an aged woman, 

And she had a daughter fair, 
Whose evil habits fill'd her heart 

With misery and care. 

The daughter had a paramour, 

A wicked man was he, 
And oft the woman him against 

Did murmur grievously. 

And the hag had work'd the daughter up 

To murder her old mother, 
That then she might seize on all her goods, 

And wanton with her lover. 



KIRKE WHITE. 205 

And one night as the old woman 

Was sick and ill in bed, 
And pondering solely on the life 

Her wicked daughter led, 

She heard her footstep on the floor, 

And she raised her pallid head, 
And she saw her daughter, with a knife, 

Approaching to her bed. 

And said, My child, I'm very ill, 

I have not long to live, 
Now kiss my cheek, that ere I die 

Thy sins I may forgive. 

And the murderess bent to kiss her cheek, 
And she lifted the sharp bright knife, 

And the mother saw her fell intent, 
And hard she begg'd for life. 

But prayers would nothing her avail, 
And she scream'd aloud with fear, 

But the house was lone, and the piercing screams 
Could reach no human ear. 

And though that she was sick, and old, 

She struggled hard, and fought ; 
The murderess cut three fingers through 

Ere she could reach her throat. 



206 THE POEMS OF 

And the hag she held the fingers up, 
The skin was mangled sore, 

And they all agreed a nobler deed 
Was never done before. 



And she threw the fingers in the fire, 
The red flame flamed high, 

And round about the cauldron stout 
They danced right merrily. 

The third arose : She said she'd been 

To holy Palestine ; 
And seen more blood in one short day 

Than they had all seen in nine. 

Now Gondoline, with fearful steps, 
Drew nearer to the flame, 

For much she dreaded now to hear 
Her hapless lover's name. 

The hag related then the sports 

Of that eventful day, 
When on the well contested field 

Full fifteen thousand lay. 

She said that she in human gore 
Above the knees did wade, 

And that no tongue could truly tell 
The tricks she there had play'd. 



KIRKE WHITE. 207 

There was a gallant featured youth, 

Who like a hero fought ; 
He kiss'd a bracelet on his wrist, 

And every danger sought. 

And in a vassal's 'garb disguised, 

Unto the knight she sues, 
And tells him she from Britain comes, 

And brings unwelcome news. 

That three days ere she had embark'd 

His love had given her hand 
Unto a wealthy Thane : — and thought 

Him dead in Holy Land. 

And to have seen how he did writhe 

When this her tale she told, 
It would have made a wizard's blood 

Within his heart run cold. 

Then fierce he spurr'd his warrior steed, 

And sought the battle's bed ; 
And soon all mangled o'er with wounds 

He on the cold turf bled. 

And from his smoking corse she tore 

His head, half clove in two. 
She ceased, and from beneath her garb 

The bloody trophy drew. 



208 THE POEMS OF 

The eyes were starting from their socks, 

The mouth it ghastly grinn'd, 
And there was a gash across the brow, 

The scalp was nearly skinn'd. 

'Twas Bertrand's head ! With a terrible scream 

The maiden gave a spring, 
And from her fearful hiding place 

She fell into the ring. 

The lights they fled — the cauldron sunk, 
Deep thunders shook the dome, 

And hollow peals of laughter came 
Resounding through the gloom. 

Insensible the maiden lay 

Upon the hellish ground, 
And still mysterious sounds were heard 

At intervals around. 

She woke — she half arose — and wild 

She cast a horrid glare, 
The sounds had ceased, the lights had fled, 

And all was stillness there. 

And through an awning in the rock 

The moon it sweetly shone, 
And show'd a river in the cave 

Which dismally did moan. 



KIRKE WHITE. 209 



The stream was black, it sounded deep 
As it rush'd the rocks between, 

It offered well, for madness fired 
The breast of Gondoline. 

She plunged in, the torrent moan'd 
With its accustom'd sound, 

And hollow peals of laughter loud 
Again rebellow'd round. 

The maid was seen no more. — But oft 
Her ghost is known to glide, 

At midnight's silent, solemn hour, 
Along" the ocean's side. 



A BALLAD. 

Be hush'd, be hush'd, ye bitter winds, 
Ye pelting rains, a little rest ; 

Lie still, lie still, ye busy thoughts, 

That wring with grief my aching breast. 

Oh ! cruel was my faithless love, 
To triumph o'er an artless maid ; 

Oh ! cruel was my faithless love, 
To leave the breast by him betray 'd. 

When exiled from my native home, 
He should have wiped the bitter tear ; 

Nor left me faint and lone to roam, 
A heart- sick weary w T anderer here. 

p 



210 THE POEMS OF 

My child moans sadly in my arms, 
The winds they will not let it sleep : 

Ah, little knows the hapless babe 

What makes its wretched mother weep ! 

Now lie thee still, my infant dear, 
I cannot bear thy sobs to see, 

Harsh is thy father, little one, 
And never will he shelter thee. 

Oh, that I were but in my grave, 
And winds were piping o'er me loud, 

And thou, my poor, my orphan babe, 
Were nestling in thy mother's shroud ! 



THE LULLABY OF A FEMALE CONVICT TO 

HER CHILD, THE NIGHT PREVIOUS 

TO EXECUTION. 

Sleep, baby mine, * enkerchieft on my bosom, 
Thy cries they pierce again my bleeding breast ; 

Sleep, baby mine, not long thoult have a mother 
To lull thee fondly in her arms to rest. 

Baby, why dost thou keep this sad complaining? 

Long from mine eyes have kindly slumbers fled ; 
Hush, hush, my babe, the night is quickly waning, 

And I would fain compose my aching head. 

* Sir Philip Sidney has a poem, beginning " Sleep, baby 
mine." 



KIRKE WHITE. 211 

Poor wayward wretch ! and who will heed thy 
weeping, 
When soon an outcast on the world thou'lt be ? 
Who then will soothe thee, when thy mother's 
sleeping 
In her low grave of shame and infamy ? 

Sleep, baby mine — To-morrow I must leave thee, 
And I would snatch an interval of rest : 

Sleep these last moments ere the laws bereave 
thee, 
For never more thou'lt press a mother's breast. 



THE SAVOY ARD'S RETURN. 

Oh ! yonder is the well known spot, 

My dear, my long lost native home ! 
Oh, welcome is yon little cot, 

Where I shall rest, no more to roam ! 
Oh ! I have travell'd far and wide, 

O'er many a distant foreign land ; 
Each place, each province I have tried, 

And sung and danced my saraband. 
But all their charms could not prevail 
To steal my heart from yonder vale. 

Of distant climes the false report 
It lured me from my native land ; 



'212 THE POEMS OF 

It bade me rove — my sole support 

My cymbals and my saraband. 
The woody dell, the hanging rock, 

The chamois skipping o'er the heights ; 
The plain adorn'd with many a flock, 
And, oh ! a thousand more delights, 
That grace yon dear beloved retreat. 
Have backward won my weary feet. 

Now safe return'd, with wandering tired, 

No more my little home I'll leave ; 
And many a tale of what I've seen 

Shall while away the winter's eve. 
Oh ! I have wander'd far and wide, 

O'er many a distant foreign land ; 
Each place, each province I have tried. 

And sung and danced my saraband; 
But all their charms could not prevail 
To steal my heart from yonder vale. 



A PASTORAL SONG. 

Come, Anna ! come, the morning dawns, 

Faint streaks of radiance tinge the skies ; 
Come, let us seek the dewy lawns, 
And watch the early lark arise ; 
While nature, clad in vesture gay, 
Hails the loved return of day. 



KIRKE WHITE. 213 

Our flocks, that nip the scanty blade 

Upon the moor, shall seek the vale ; 
And then, secure beneath the shade, 
We'll listen to the throstle's tale ; 
And watch the silver clouds above, 
As o'er the azure vault they rove. 

Come, Anna ! come, and bring thy lute, 

That with its tones, so softly sweet, 
In cadence with my mellow flute, 
We may beguile the noontide heat ; 
While near the mellow bee shall join, 
To raise a harmony divine. 

And then at eve, when silence reigns, 

Except when heard the beetle's hum, 
We'll leave the sober tinted plains, 

To these sweet heights again we'll come ; 
And thou to thy soft lute shalt play 
A solemn vesper to departing day. 



MELODY. 

Yes, once more that dying strain, 
Anna, touch thy lute for me ; 

Sweet, when pity's tones complain, 
Doubly sweet is melody. 



214 THE POEMS OF 

While the Virtues thus enweave 
Mildly soft the thrilling song, 

Winter's long and lonesome eve 
Glides unfelt, unseen, along. 

Thus when life hath stolen away, 
And the wintry night is near, 

Thus shall virtue's friendly ray 
Age's closing evening cheer. 



SONG. 

BY WALLER. 

A lady of Cambridge lent Waller's Poems to the Author. 
and when he returned them to her, she discovered an ad- 
ditional stanza written by him at the bottom of the song 
here copied. 

Go, lovely rose ! 
Tell her, that wastes her time on me, 

That now she knows, 
When I resemble her to thee, 
How sweet and fair she seems to be. 

Tell her that's young, 
And shuns to have her graces spied, 

That hadst thou sprung 
In deserts, where no men abide, 
Thou must have uncommended died. 



KIRKE WHITE. 215 

Small is the worth 
Of beauty from the light retired, 

Bid her come forth, 
Suffer herself to be desired, 
And not blush so to be admired. 

Then die, that she 
The common fate of all things rare 

May read in thee ; 
How small a part of time they share, 
That are so wondrous sweet and fair. 

[Yet, though thou fade, 
From thy dead leaves let fragrance rise ; 

And teach the maid 
That Goodness Time's rude hand defies, 
That Virtue lives when Beauty dies.] 

H. K. WHITE. 



THE WANDERING BOY. 
A SONG. 

When the winter wind whistles along the wild 

moor, 
And the cottager shuts on the beggar his door ; 
When the chilling tear stands in my comfortless eye, 
Oh, how hard is the lot of the Wandering Boy. 



216 THE POEMS OF 

The winter is cold, and I have no vest, 
And my heart it is cold as it beats in my breast ; 
No father, no mother, no kindred have I, 
For I am a parentless Wandering Boy. 

Yet I had a home, and I once had a sire, 
A mother who granted each infant desire ; 
Our cottage it stood in a wood-embower'd vale, 
Where the ringdove would warble its sorrowful 
tale. 

But my father and mother were summoned aw r ay, 
And they left me to hard-hearted strangers a prey; 
I fled from their rigour with many a sigh, 
And now I'm a poor little Wandering Boy. 

The wind it is keen, and the snow loads the gale, 
And no one will list to my innocent tale ; 
Til go to the grave where my parents both lie, 
And death shall befriend the poor Wandering Boy. 



CANZONET. 

Maiden ! wrap thy mantle round thee, 
Cold the rain beats on thy breast : 

Why should Horror's voice astound thee ? 
Death can bid the wretched rest ! 



KIRKE WHITE. 217 

All under the tree 
Thy bed may be, 
And thou mayst slumber peacefully. 

Maiden ! once gay pleasure knew thee, 
Now thy cheeks are pale and deep : 
Loye has been a felon to thee, 
Yet, poor maiden, do not weep : 
There's rest for thee 
All under the tree, 
Where thou wilt sleep most peacefully. 



S N G. 

WRITTEN AT THE AGE OF FOURTEEN. 

Softly, softly blow, ye breezes, 

Gently o'er my Edwy fly ! 
Lo ! he slumbers, slumbers sweetly ; 
Softly, zephyrs, pass him by ! 
My loye is asleep, 
He lies by the deep, 
All along where the salt waves sigh, 

I have cover d him with rushes, 
Water-flags, and branches dry. 

Edwy, long have been thy slumbers ; 
Edwy, Edwy, ope thine eye ! 



218 THE POEMS OF 

My love is asleep, 
He lies by the deep, 
All along where the salt waves sigh. 

Still he sleeps ; he will not waken, 

Fastly closed is his eye ; 
Paler is his cheek, and chiller 
Than the icy moon on high. 
Alas ! he is dead, 
He has chose his death-bed 
All along where the salt waves sigh. 

Is it, is it so, my Edwy ? 

Will thy slumbers never fly ? 
Couldst thou think I would survive thee ? 
No, my love, thou bid'st me die. 
Thou bid'st me seek 
Thy death-bed bleak 
All along where the salt waves sigh. 

I will gently kiss thy cold lips, 

On thy breast I'll lay my head, 
And the winds shall sing our death dirge, 
And our shroud the waters spread ; 
The moon will smile sweet, 
And the wild wave will beat, 
Oh ! so softly o'er our lonely bed. 



KIRKE WHITE. 219 



THE SHIPWRECKED SOLITARY'S SONG 
TO THE NIGHT. 

Thou, spirit of the spangled night ! 
I woo thee from the watchtower high, 
Where thou dost sit to guide the bark 
Of lonely mariner. 

The winds are whistling o'er the wolds, 
The distant main is moaning low; 
Come, let us sit and weave a song — 
A melancholy song ! 

Sweet is the scented gale of morn, 
And sweet the noontide's fervid beam? 
But sweeter far the solemn calm 

That marks thy mournful reign. 

I've pass'd here many a lonely year, 
And never human voice have heard ; 
I've pass'd here many a lonely year, 
A solitary man. 

And I have linger'd in the shade, 
From sultry noon's hot beams ; and I 
Have knelt before my wicker door > 
To sing my evening song. 



220 THE POEMS OF 

And I have hail'd the gray morn high, 
On the blue mountain's misty brow, 
And tried to tune my little reed 
To hymns of harmony. 

But never could I tune my reed, 
At morn, or noon, or eve, so sweet, 
As when upon the ocean shore 
I hail'd thy star-beam mild. 

The day spring brings not joy to me, 
The moon it whispers not of peace ; 
But oh ! when darkness robes the heavens, 
My woes are mix'd with joy. 

And then I talk, and often think 
Aerial voices answer me ; 
And oh ! I am not then alone — 
A solitary man. 

And when the blustering winter winds 
Howl in the woods that clothe my cave, 
I lay me on my lonely mat, 

And pleasant are my dreams. 

And fancy gives me back my wife ; 
And fancy gives me back my child ; 
She gives me back my little home, 
And all its placid joys. 



KIRKE WHITE. 221 

Then hateful is the morning hour, 
That calls me from the dream of bliss, 
To find myself still lone, and hear 
The same dull sounds again. 

The deep toned winds, the moaning sea, 
The whispering of the boding trees, 
The brook's eternal flow, and oft 
The condor's hollow scream. 



THE WONDERFUL JUGGLER. 

A SONG. 

Come all ye true hearts, who, Old England to save, 
Now shoulder the musket, or plough the rough 

wave, 
I will sing you a song of a wonderful fellow, 
Who has ruin'd Jack Pudding, and broke Punchi- 
nello. 

Derry down, down, high derry down. 

This juggler is lktle, and ugly, and black, 

But, like Atlas, he stalks with the world at his 

back ; 
'Tis certain, all fear of the devil he scorns ; 
Some say they are cousins ; we know he wears 

horns. 

Derry down. 



222 THE POEMS OF 

At hop, skip, and jump, who so famous as he ? 
He hopp'd o'er an army, he skipp'd o'er the sea ; 
And he jump'd from the desk of a village attorney 
To the throne of the Bourbons — a pretty long 
journey. 

Derry down. 

He tosses up kingdoms the same as a ball, 
And his cup is so fashion' d it catches them all ; 
The Pope and Grand Turk have been heard to de- 
clare 
His skill at the long bow has made them both stare. 

Derry down. 

He has shown oiF his tricks in France, Italy, Spain ; 
And Germany too knows his legerdemain ; 
So hearing John Bull has a taste for strange sights, 
He's coming to London to put us to rights. 

Derry down. 

To encourage his puppets to venture this trip, 
He has built them such boats as can conquer a 

ship; 
With a gun of good metal, that shoots out so far, 
It can silence the broadsides of three men of war. 

Derry down. 

This new Katterfelto, his show to complete, 
Means his boats should all sink as they pass by our 
fleet; 



KIRKE WHITE. 2'2S 

Then, as under the ocean their course they steer 

right on, [Triton. 

They can pepper their foes from the bed of old 

Derry down. 

If this project should fail, he has others in store ; 
Wooden horses, for instance, may bring them safe 

o'er; 
Or the genius of France (as the Moniteur tells) 
May order balloons, or provide diving bells. 

Derry down. 

When Philip of Spain fitted out his Armada, 
Britain saw his designs, and could meet her invader ; 
But how to greet Bonny she never will know, 
If he comes in the style of a fish or a crow. 

Derry down. 

Now if our rude tars will so crowd up the seas, 
That his boats have not room to go down when 

they please, 
Can't he wait till the channel is quite frozen over, 
And a stout pair of skates will transport him to 

Dover. Derry down. 

How welcome he'll be it were needless to say ; 
Neither he nor his puppets shall e'er go away ; 
I am sure at his heels we shall constantly stick, 
Till we know he has play'd off his very last trick. 
Derry down, down, high derry down. 



224 THE POEMS OF 



H Y M X. 



In Heaven we shall be purified, so as to be able to endure 
the splendours of the Deity. 

Awake, sweet harp of Judah, wake, 
Retime thy strings for Jesus' sake ; 
We sing the Saviour of our race, 
The Lamb, our shield, and hiding-place. 

When God's right arm is bared for war, 
And thunders clothe his cloudy car, 
Where, where, oh, where shall man retire, 
To escape the horrors of his ire ? 

'Tis he, the Lamb, to him we fly, 
While the dread tempest passes by ; 
God sees his Well-beloved's face, 
And spares us in our hiding-place. 

Thus while we dwell in this low scene, 
The Lamb is our unfailing screen ; 
To him, though guilty, still we run, 
And God still spares us for his Son. 

While yet we sojourn here below, 
Pollutions still our hearts o'erflow ; 
Fallen, abject, mean, a sentenced race, 
We deeply need a hiding-place. 



KIRKE WHITE. 225 

Yet, courage— days and years will glide, 
And we shall lay these clods aside, 
Shall be baptized in Jordan's flood, 
And wash'd in Jesus' cleansing blood. 

Then pure, immortal, sinless, freed, 
We through the Lamb shall be decreed ; 
Shall meet the Father face to face, 
And need no more a hiding place.* 



A HYMN FOR FAMILY WORSHIP, 

O Lord, another day is flown, 

And we, a lonely band, 
Are met once more before thy throne, 

To bless thy fostering hand. 

And wilt thou bend a listening ear, 

To praises low as ours ? 
Thou wilt ! for thou dost love to hear 

The song which meekness pours. 

And, Jesus, thou thy smiles wilt deign, 

As we before thee pray ; 
For thou didst bless the infant train, 

And we are less than they. 

* The last stanza of this hymn was added extemporane- 
ously, by the Author, one summer evening, when he was 
with a few friends on the Trent, and singing it as he was 
used to do on such occasions. 



226 THE POEMS OF 

O let thy grace perform its part. 

And let contention cease ; 
And shed abroad in every heart 

Thine everlasting peace I 

Thus chasten'd, cleansed, entirely thine-, 

A flock by Jesus led ; 
The Sun of Holiness shall shine 

In glory on our head. 

And thou wilt turn our wandering feet. 
And thou wilt bless our way ; 

Till worlds shall fade, and faith shall greet 
The dawn of lasting day. 



THE STAR OF BETHLEHEM. 

When marshal'd on the nightly plain, 
The glittering host bestud the sky ; 

One star alone, of all the train, 

Can fix the sinner s wandering eye. 

Hark I hark ! to God the chorus breaks, 
From every host, from every gem ; 

But one alone the Saviour speaks, 
It is the Star of Bethlehem. 

Once on the raging seas I rode, 

The storm was loud, — the night was dark, 
The ocean yawn'd — and rudely blow'd 

The wind that toss'd my foundering bark. 



KIRKE WHITE. 227 

Deep horror then my vitals froze, 

Death-struck, I ceased the tide to stem ; 

When suddenly a star arose, 

It was the Star of Bethlehem. 

It was my guide, my light, my all, 

It bade my dark forebodings cease ; 

And through the storm and dangers' thrall 
It led me to the port of peace. 

Now safely moor'd — my peril's o'er, 

I'll sing, first in night's diadem, 
For ever, and for evermore, 

The Star ! — The Star of Bethlehem ! 



A HYMN. 

O Lord, my God, in mercy turn, 
In mercy hear a sinner mourn ! 
To thee I call, to thee I cry, 

leave me, leave me not to die ! 

1 strove against thee, Lord, I know, 

I spurn'd thy grace, I mock'd thy law ; 
The hour is past — the day's gone by, 
And I am left alone to die. 

O pleasures past, what are ye now 
But thorns about my bleeding brow ! 
Spectres that hover round my brain, 
And aggravate and mock my pain. 



228 POEMS OF KIRKE WHITE. 

For pleasure I have given my soul ; 
Now, Justice, let thy thunders roll ! 
Now, Vengeance, smile — and with a blow 
Lay the rebellious ingrate low. 

Yet, Jesus, Jesus ! there I'll cling, 
I'll crowd beneath his sheltering wing ; 
I'll clasp the cross, and holding there, 
Even me, oh bliss ! — his wrath may spare. 



TRIBUTARY VERSES. 



EULOGY ON HENRY KIRKE WHITE, BY 
LORD BYRON. 

FROM THE ENGLISH BARDS AND SCOTCH 
REVIEWERS. 

Unhappy White I* while life was in its spring, 
And thy young muse just waved her joyous wing, 
The spoiler came ; and all thy promise fair 
Has sought the grave, to sleep for ever there. 
Oh ! what a noble heart was here undone, 
When science self destroy'd her favourite son ! 
Yes ! she too much indulged thy fond pursuit, 
She sow'd the seeds, but death has reap'd the fruit. 
'Twas thine own genius gave the final blow, 
And help'd to plant the wound that laid thee low. 
So the struck eagle, stretch'd upon the plain, 
No more through rolling clouds to soar again, 
View'd his own feather on the fatal dart, 
And wing'd the shaft that quiver 'd in his heart. 

* Henry Kirke White died at Cambridge in October, 1806, 
in consequence of too much exertion in the pursuit of studies 
that would have matured a mind which disease and poverty 
could not impair, and which death itself destroyed rather 
than subdued. His poems abound in such beauties as must 
impress the reader with the liveliest regret that so short a 
period was allotted to talents, which would have dignified 
even the sacred functions he was destined to assume. 



230 TRIBUTARY VERSES. 

Keen were his pangs, but keener far to feel, 
He nursed the pinion which impell'd the steel ; 
While the same plumage that had warm'd his nest 
Drank the last life-drop of his bleeding breast. 



SONNET ON HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 

BY CAPEL LOFFT. 

Master so early of the various lyre 

Energic, pure, sublime ! — Thus art thou gone ? 
In its bright dawn of fame that spirit flown, 

Which breathed such sweetness, tenderness, and 
fire ! 

Wert thou but shown to win us to admire, 

And veil in death thy splendour? — But unknown 
Their destination who least time have shone, 

And brightest beam'd. — When these the Eternal 
Sire, 

— Righteous, and wise, and good are all his ways — 

Eclipses as their sun begins to rise, 
Can mortal judge, for their diminish'd days, 

What blest equivalent in changeless skies, 
What sacred glory waits them? — His the praise; 

Gracious, whate'er he gives, whate'er denies 

24th Oct. 1806. 



TRIBUTARY VERSES. £31 



SONNET OCCASIONED BY THE SECOND OF 
HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 

BY CAPEL LOFFT. 

Yes, fled already is thy vital fire, 

And the fair promise of thy early bloom 

Lost, in youth's morn extinct ; sunk in the tomb ; 

Mute in the grave sleeps thy enchanted lyre ! 

And is it vainly that our souls aspire? 
Falsely does the presaging heart presume 
That we shall live beyond life's cares and gloom ; 

Grasps it eternity with high desire, 

But to imagine bliss, feel woe, and die ; 

Leaving survivors to worse pangs than death ? 
Not such the sanction of the Eternal Mind, 
The harmonious order of the starry sky, 
And awful revelation's angel breath, 

Assure these hopes their Ml effect shall find. 

25th Dec. 1806. 



232 TRIBUTARY VERSES.. 



WRITTEN IN THE HOMER OF MR. H. K. WHITE, 

PRESENTED TO ME BY HIS BROTHER, J. NEVILLE WHITE. 
BY CAPEL LOFFT. 

Bard of brief days, but ah, of deathless fame ! 

While on these awful leaves my fond eyes rest, 

On which thine late have dwelt, thy hand late 
press'd, 
I pause; and gaze regretful on thy name. 
By neither chance nor envy, time nor flame, 

Be it from this its mansion dispossess'd ! 

But thee, Eternity, clasps to her breast, 
And in celestial splendour thrones thy claim. 

No more with mortal pencil shak thou trace 
An imitative radiance : * thy pure lyre 

Springs from our changeful atmosphere's embrace, 
And beams and breathes in empyreal fire : 

The Homeric and Miltonian sacred tone 

Responsive hail that lyre congenial to their own. 

Bury, llth Jan. 1807. 

* Alluding to his pencilled sketch of a head surrounded 
with a glory. 



TRIBUTARY VERSES, 233 



TO THE MEMORY OF H. K. WHITE. 

BY THE REV. W. B. COLLYER. A.M. 

O, lost too soon ! accept the tear 
A stranger to thy memory pays ! 

Dear to the muse, to science dear, 
In the young morning of thy days ! 

All the wild notes that pity loved 
Awoke, responsive still to thee, 

While o'er the lyre thy fingers roved 
In softest, sweetest harmony. 

The chords that in the human heart 
Compassion touches as her own, 

Bore in thy symphonies a part — 
With them in perfect unison. 

Amidst accumulated woes 

That premature afflictions bring, 

Submission's sacred hymn arose, 

Warbled from every mournful string. 

When o'er thy dawn the darkness spread. 
And deeper every moment grew ; 

When rudely round thy youthful head 
The chilling blasts of sickness blew ; 



234 TRIBUTARY VERSES. 

Religion heard no 'plainings loud, 
The sigh in secret stole from thee ; 

And pity, from the " dropping cloud," 
Shed tears of holy sympathy. 

Cold is that heart in which were met 
More virtues than could ever die ; 

The morning star of hope is set — 
The sun adorns another sky. 

O partial grief! to mourn the day 

So suddenly o'erclouded here, 
To rise with unextinguish'd ray — 

To shine in a superior sphere ! 

Oft genius early quits this sod, 

Impatient of a robe of clay, 
Spreads the light pinion, spurns the clod, 

And smiles, and soars, and steals away ! 

But more than genius urged thy flight, 

And mark'd the way, dear youth ! for thee : 

Henry sprang up to worlds of light 
On wings of immortality ! 

Blackheath Hill, 24th June, 1808. 



TRIBUTARY VERSES. 235 



SOXXET TO HENRY KIRKE WHITE, OX HIS 
POEMS LATELY PUBLISHED. 

BY ARTHUR OWEN, ESQ. 

Hail ! gifted youth, whose passion-breathing lay 
Portrays a mind attuned to noblest themes, 
A mind, which, wrapt in Fancy's high-wrought 
dreams, 

To nature's veriest bounds its daring w T ay 

Can wing : what charms throughout thy pages 
shine, 
To w T in with fairy thrill the melting soul ! 
For though along impassioned grandeur roll, 

Yet in full power simplicity is thine. 

Proceed, sweet bard ! and the heaven-granted fire 
Of pity, glowing in thy feeling breast, 
May nought destroy, may nought thy soul divest 

Of joy — of rapture in the living lyre, 

Thou tunest so magically : but may fame 
Each passing year add honours to thy name. 

Richmond, Sept. 1803. 



^36 TRIBUTARY VERSES. 



SONNET, 



ON SEEING ANOTHER WRITTEN TO H. K. WHITE, IN 
SEPTEMBER, 1803, INSERTED IN HIS " REMAINS." 

BY ARTHUR OWEN, ESQ. 

Ah ! once again the long left wires among, 
Truants the Muse to weave her requiem song ; 
With sterner lore now busied, erst the lay 
Cheer'd my dark morn of manhood, wont to stray 
O'er fancy's fields in quest of musky flower ; 

To me nor fragrant less, though barr'd from view 
And courtship of the world : hail'd was the hour 

That gave me, dripping fresh with nature's dew, 
Poor Henry's budding beauties- — to a clime 

Hapless transplanted, whose exotic ray 

Forced their young vigour into transient day, 
And drain'd the stalk that rear'd them ! and shall 

time 
Trample these orphan blossoms ? — No ! they 

breathe 
Still lovelier charms — for Southey culls the wreath ! 

Oxford, Dec. 17, 1807. 



TRIBUTARY VERSES. 237 



REFLECTIONS ON READING THE LIFE OF 
THE LATE HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 

BY WILLIAM HOLLOWAY, AUTHOR OF " THE PEASANT'S 
FATE." 

Darling of science and the muse, 
How shall a son of song refuse 

To shed a tear for thee ? 
To us, so soon, for ever lost, 
What hopes, what prospects have been cross'd 

By Heaven's supreme decree ? 

How could a parent, love-beguiled, 
In life's fair prime resign a child 

So duteous, good, and kind ? 
The w^arblers of the soothing strain 
Must string the elegiac lyre in vain 

To soothe the wounded mind ! 

Yet, Fancy, hovering round the tomb, 
Half envies, while she mourns thy doom, 

Dear poet, saint, and sage ! 
Who into one short span, at best, 
The wisdom of an age compress'd, 

A patriarch's lengthen'd age ! 

To him a genius sanctified, 
And purged from literary pride, 



238 TRIBUTARY VERSES. 

A sacred boon was given : 
Chaste as the psalmist's harp, his lyre 
Celestial raptures could inspire, 

And lift the soul to Heaven. 

'Twas not the laurel earth bestows, 
'Twas not the praise from man that flows, 

With classic toil he sought : 
He sought the crown that martyrs wear, 
When rescued from a world of care ; 

Their spirit too he caught. 

Here come, ye thoughtless, vain, and gay, 
Who idly range in Folly's way, 

And learn the worth of time : 
Learn ye, whose days have run to waste, 
How to redeem this pearl at last, 

Atoning for your crime. 

This flower, that drooped in one cold clime 
Transplanted from the soil of time 

To immortality, 
In full perfection there shall bloom ; 
And those who now lament his doom 

Must bow to God's decree. 

London, 27th Feb. 1808. 



TRIBUTARY VERSES. 239 

ON THE DEATH OF HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 

BY T. PARK. 

Too, too prophetic did thy wild note swell, 

Impassion'd minstrel ! when its pitying wail 
Sigh'd o'er the vernal primrose as it fell 

Untimely, wither'd by the northern gale.* 
Thou wert that flower of promise and of prime ! 

Whose opening bloom, 'mid many an adverse 

blast, [clime, 

Charm'd the lone wanderer through this desert 

But charm'd him with a rapture soon o'ercast, 
To see thee languish into quick decay. 

Yet was not thy departing immature ; 
For ripe in virtue thou wert reft away, 

And pure in spirit, as the bless'd are pure ; 
Pure as the dewdrop, freed from earthly leaven, 
That sparkles, is exhaled, and blends with heaven ! 

LINES 
ON THE DEATH OF MR. HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 

BY THE REV. J. PLUMPTRE. 

Such talents and such piety combined, 
With such unfeign'd humility of mind, 
Bespoke him fair to tread the way to fame, 
And live an honour to the christian name, 

* See Clifton Grove. 



240 TRIBUTARY VERSES. 

But Heaven was pleased to stop his fleeting hour, 
And blight the fragrance of the opening flower. 
We mourn — but not for him, removed from pain ; 
Our loss, we trust, is his eternal gain : 
With him we'll strive to win the Saviour's love, 
And hope to join him with the blest above. 

October 24th, 1806. 



TO MR. HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 

BY H. WELKER. 

Hark ! 'tis some sprite who sweeps a funeral knell 
For Dermody no more. — That fitful tone 
From Eolus' wild harp alone can swell, 

Or Chatterton assumes the lyre unknown. 

No ; list again ! 'tis Bateman's fatal sigh 

Swells with the breeze, and dies upon the stream : 

'Tis Margaret mourns, as swift she rushes by, 
Roused by the demons from adulterous dream. 

O ! say, sweet youth ! what genius fires thy soul ? 

The same which tuned the frantic nervous strain 
To the wild harp of Collins ? — By the pole, 

Or 'mid the seraphim and heavenly train, 
Taught Milton everlasting secrets to unfold, 
To sing Hell's flaming gulf, or Heaven high arch'd 
with gold? 



TRIBUTARY VERSES. 241 



VERSES OCCASIONED BY THE DEATH OF 
HEXRY KIRKE WHITE. 

BY JOSIAH CONDER. 

What is this world at best, 

Though deck'd in vernal bloom, 
By hope and youthful fancy dress'd, 
What, but a ceaseless toil for rest> 
A passage to the tomb ?-■ 
If flowerets strew 
The avenue, 
Though fair, alas ! how fading, and how few ! 

And every hour comes arm'd 

By sorrow, or by woe : 
Conceal'd beneath its little wings, 
A scythe the soft-shod pilferer brings, 
To lay some comfort low : 
Some tie to unbind, 
By love entwined, 
Some silken bond that holds the captive mind. 

And every month displays 

The ravages of time : 
Faded the flowers ! — The spring is past ! 
The scatter'd leaves, the wintry blast, 

Warn to a milder clime : 



242 TRIBUTARY VERSES. 

The songsters flee 
The leafless tree, 
And bear to happier realms their melody. 

Henry ! the world no more 
Can claim thee for her own I 
In purer skies thy radiance beams ! 
Thy lyre employ'd on nobler themes 
Before the eternal throne : 
Yet, spirit dear, 
Forgive the tear 
Which those must shed who've doom'd to linger 
here. 

Although a stranger, I 
In friendship's train would weep : 
Lost to the world, alas ! so young, 
And must thy lyre, in silence hung, 
On the dark cypress sleep ? 
The poet, all 
Their friend may call ; 
And Nature's self attends his funeral. 

Although with feeble wing 
Thy flight I would pursue, 
With quicken'd zeal, with humbled pride, 
Alike our object, hopes, and guide, 
One heaven alike in view ; 
True, it was thine 
To tower, to shine ; 
But I may make thy milder virtues mine. 



TRIBUTARY VERSES. 243 

If Jesus own my name 
(Though fame pronounced it never), 
Sweet spirit, not with thee alone. 
But all whose absence here I moan, 
Circling with harps the golden throne, 
I shall unite for ever. 
At death then why 
Tremble or sigh ? 
Oh ! who would wish to live, but he who fears to die ? 

Dec. 5, 1807. 



OX READING HENRY KIRKE WHITE'S 
POEM ON SOLITUDE. 

BY JOSIAH CONDER. 

But art thou thus indeed " alone ?" 
Quite unbefriended — all unknown ? 
And hast thou then his name forgot 
Who form'd thy frame, and fix'd thy lot ? 

Is not his voice in evening's gale ? 
Beams not with him the " star " so pale ? 
Is there a leaf can fade and die 
Unnoticed by his watchful eye ? 

Each fluttering hope — each anxious fear — 
Each lonely sigh — each silent tear — 
To thine Almighty Friend are known ; 
And sav'st thou, thou art " all alone ?" 



244 TRIBUTARY VERSES. 



ODE ON THE LATE H. KIEKE WHITE. 

BY JUVF.NIS. 

And is the minstrel's voyage o'er ? 

And is the star of genius fled ? 
And will his magic harp no more, 

Mute in the mansions of the dead, 
Its strains seraphic pour ? 

A pilgrim in this world of woe, 
Condemn'd, alas ! awhile to stray, 

Where bristly thorns, where briers grow, 
He bade, to cheer the gloomy way, 

Its heavenly music flow. 

And oft he bade, by fame inspired, 
Its wild notes seek the ethereal plain, 

Till angels, by its music fired, 

Have, listening, caught the ecstatic strain, 

Have wonder'd, and admired. 

But now secure on happier shores, 

With choirs of sainted souls he sings : 
His harp the Omnipotent adores, 

-And from its sweet, its silver string- 
Celestial music pours. 



TRIBUTARY VERSES. 245 

And though on earth no more he'll weave 
The lay that's fraught with magic fire. 

Yet oft shall Fancy hear at eve 
His now exalted heavenly lyre 

In sounds iEolian grieve. 

B. Stoke. 



SONNET IN MEMORY OF H. KIRKE WHITE. 

BY J. G. 

" 'Tis now the dead of night," and I will go 

To where the brook soft murmuring glides along 
In the still wood ; yet does the plaintive song 

Of Philomela through the welkin flow ; 

And while pale Cynthia carelessly doth throw 
Her dewy beams the verdant boughs among, 
Will sit beneath some spreading oak tree strong, 

And intermingle with the streams my woe ! 

Hush'd in deep silence every gentle breeze ; 
No mortal breath disturbs the awful gloom ; 

Cold, chilling dewdrops trickle down the trees, 
And every flower withholds its rich perfume : 

'Tis sorrow leads me to that sacred ground 

Where Henry moulders in a sleep profound ! 



r2 



246 TRIBUTARY VERSES. 



LINES 
ON THE DEATH OF HENRY KIRKE WHITE, 

LATE OF ST. JOHN'S COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE. 

Sorrows are mine — then let me joys evade, 
And seek for sympathies in this lone shade. 
The glooms of death fall heavy on my heart, 
And, between life and me, a truce impart. 
Genius has vanish'd in its opening bloom, 
And youth and beauty wither in the tomb ! 

Thought, ever prompt to lend the inquiring eye, 
Pursues thy spirit through futurity. 
Does thy aspiring mind new powers essay, 
Or in suspended being wait the day, 
When earth shall fall before the awful train 
Of Heaven and Virtue's everlasting reign ? 

May goodness, which thy heart did once enthrone, 
Emit one ray to meliorate my own ! 
And for thy sake, when time affliction calm, 
Science shall please, and poesie shall charm. 

I turn my steps whence issued all my woes, 
Where the dull courts monastic glooms impose ; 
Thence fled a spirit whose unbounded scope 
Surpass'd the fond creations e'en of hope. 
Along this path thy living step has fled, 
Along this path they bore thee to the dead. 



TRIBUTARY VERSES. 247 

All that this languid eye can now survey 
Witness'd the vigour of thy fleeting day : 
And witness'd all, as speaks this anguish'd tear, 
The solemn progress of thy early bier. 

Sacred the walls that took thy parting breath, 
Own'd thee in life, encompass'd thee in death ! 

Oh ! I can feel as felt the sorrowing friend 
Who o'er thy corse in agony did bend ; 
Dead as thyself to all the world inspires, 
Paid the last rites mortality requires ; 
Closed the dim eye that beam'd with mind before ; 
Composed the icy limbs to move no more ! 

Some power the picture from my memory tear, 
Or feeling will rush onward to despair. 

Immortal hopes ! come, lend your blest relief, 
And raise the soul bow'd down with mortal grief; 
Teach it to look for comfort in the skies : 
Earth cannot give what Heaven's high will denies. 

Cambridge, Nov. 1806. 



SOXXET ADDRESSED TO H. K. WHITE, OX 
HIS POEMS LATELY PUBLISHED. 

BY G. L. C. 

Henry ! I greet thine entrance into life ! 
Sure presage that the myrmidons of fate, 
The fool's unmeaning laugh, the critic's hate, 
Will dire assail thee ; and the envious strife 






248 TRIBUTARY VERSES. 

Of bookish schoolmen, beings over rife, 
Whose pia-mater studious is fill'd 
With unconnected matter, half distill' d 
From lettered page, shall bare for thee the knife, 
Beneath whose edge the poet ofttimes sinks : 
But fear not ! for thy modest work contains 
The germ of worth ; thy wild poetic strains, 
How sweet to him, untutor'd bard, who thinks 
Thy verse " has power to please, as soft it flows 
Through the smooth murmurs of the frequent close.' 

1803. 



TO THE MEMORY OF HENRY KIRKE WHITE. 

BY A LADY. 

If worth, if genius, to the world are dear, 
To Henry's shade devote no common tear ; 
His worth on no precarious tenure hung, 
From genuine piety his virtues sprung ; 
If pure benevolence, if steady sense, 
Can to the feeling heart delight dispense : 
If all the highest efforts of the mind, 
Exalted, noble, elegant, refined, 
Call for fond sympathy's heart-felt regret, 
Ye sons of genius, pay the mournful debt : 
His friends can truly speak how large his claim, 
And " Life was only wanting to his fame." 



TRIBUTARY VERSES. 249 

Art thou, indeed, dear youth, for ever fled ? 

So quickly number'd with the silent dead? 

Too sure I read it in the downcast eye, 

Hear it in mourning friendship's stifled sigh. 

Ah ! could esteem or admiration save 

So dear an object from the untimely grave, 

This transcript faint had not essay'd to tel 

The loss of one beloved, revered so well ; 

Vainly I try, even eloquence were weak, 

The silent sorrow that I feel to speak. 

No more my hours of pain thy voice will cheer, 

And bind my spirit to this lower sphere ; 

Bend o'er my suffering frame with gentle sigh, 

And bid new fire relume my languid eye : 

No more the pencil's mimic art command, 

And with kind pity guide my trembling hand ; 

Nor dwell upon the page in fond regard, 

To trace the meaning of the Tuscan bard. 

Vain all the pleasures thou canst not inspire, 

And " in my breast the imperfect joys expire." 

I fondly hoped thy hand might grace my shrine, 

And little dream'd I should have wept o'er thine : 

In fancy's eye methought I saw thy lyre 

With virtue's energies each bosom fire ; 

I saw admiring nations press around, 

Eager to catch the animating sound : 

And when, at length, sunk in the shades of night, 

To brighter worlds thy spirit wing'd its flight, 

Thy country hail'd thy venerated shade, 

And each graced honour to thy memory paid. 



250 TRIBUTARY VERSES. 

Such was the fate hope pictured to my view — 
But who, alas ! ere found hope's visions true ? 
And, ah ! a dark presage, when last we met, 
Sadden'd the social hour with deep regret; 
When thou thy portrait from the minstrel drew, 
The living Edwin starting on my view — 
Silent, I ask'd of Heaven a lengthen'd date ; 
His genius thine, but not like thine his fate. 
Shuddering I gazed, and saw too sure revealed, 
The fatal truth, by hope till then conceal'd. 
Too strong the portion of celestial flame 
For its weak tenement the fragile frame ; 
Too soon for us it sought its native sky, 
And soar'd impervious to the mortal eye, 
Like some clear planet, shadow'd from our sight, 
Leaving behind long tracks ,of lucid light : 
So shall thy bright example fire each youth 
With love of virtue, piety, and truth. 
Long o'er thy loss shall grateful Granta mourn, 
And bid her sons revere thy favour'd urn. 
W T hen thy loved flower " spring's victory makes 

known," 
The primrose pale shall bloom for thee alone : 
Around thy urn the rosemary well spread, 
Whose "tender fragrance," — emblem of the dead- 
Shall "teach the maid, whose bloom no longer 

lives," 
That " virtue every perish'd grace survives." 
Farewell ! sweet Moralist ; heart-sickening grief 
Tells me in duty's path to seek relief, 



TRIBUTARY VERSES. 251 

With surer aim on faith's strong pinions rise, 
And seek hope's vanish'd anchor in the skies. 
Yet still on thee shall fond remembrance dwell, 
And to the world thy worth delight to tell ; 
Though w r ell I feel unworthy thee the lays 
That to thy memory weeping friendship pays. 



STANZAS, 

SUPPOSED TO HAVE BEEN WRITTEN AT THE GRAVE OF 
HENRY KIRKE WHTTE. 

BY A LADY. 

Ye gentlest gales ! oh, hither waft, 

On airy undulating sweeps, 
Your frequent sighs so passing soft, 

Where he, the youthful Poet, sleeps ! 
He breathed the purest tenderest sigh, 
The sigh of sensibility. 

And thou shalt lie, his favourite flower, 
Pale primrose, on his grave reclined ; 

Sweet emblem of his fleeting hour, 
And of his pure, his spotless mind ! 

Like thee he sprung in lowdy vale ; 

And felt, like thee, the trying gale. 



252 TRIBUTARY VERSES. 

Nor hence thy pensive eye seclude, 
Oh thou, the fragrant rosemary, 

Where he, " in marble solitude, 
So peaceful and so deep" doth lie ! 

His harp prophetic sung to thee 

In notes of sweetest minstrelsy. 

Ye falling dews, Oh ! ever leave 

Your crystal drops these flowers to steep : 

At earliest morn, at latest eve, 
Oh let them for their poet weep ! 

For tears bedew'd his gentle eye, 

The tears of heavenly sympathy. 

Thou western Sun, effuse thy beams ; 

For he was wont to pace the glade. 
To watch in pale uncertain gleams, 

The crimson-zoned horizon fade — 
Thy last, thy setting radiance pour, 
Where he is set to rise no more. 



THE END. 



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CH IS WICK : 
PRINTED BY C. WHITTINGHAM. 





















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